The San Antonio Spurs (6-18) are closing in on a record – and not a good one. San Antonio’s current 11-game losing streak has them dangerously close to the franchise record of 13 defeats in a row set during the 1988/89 season. The Spurs are just 1-16 in their last 17 overall.
The Rockets don’t feel bad for Thursday night’s opponent and their struggles because Houston was the league whipping boy with just 37 combined wins in the last two seasons.
The Rockets are still just 7-17 on the year, but they’ve beaten the Suns and the Sixers over their last three games. Houston is still just a -1 point favorite in San Antonio.
Rockets Coming Around?
Over the last three games, Houston did have a 120-101 loss to Golden State on Saturday, but that also came on the back-to-back after Friday’s 122-121 win on the road in Phoenix. The Rockets’ most recent game was a 132-123 OT win at home over Philadelphia on Monday, fueled by a combined 51 points from the backcourt duo of Kevin Porter, Jr. and Jalen Green.
The Rockets have gone 4-3 over their last seven, which is progress, but they’ve also allowed 120+ in six of those. Houston does have the third-worst defensive efficiency in the NBA, but that’s not as big of a concern against San Antonio, who is 25th in the league in scoring at 109.5 ppg.
Spurs Try to Stop the Slide
One big question that has to be asked ahead of the Rockets vs Spurs matchup is why San Antonio is just a +1 point underdog in this spot? The Spurs have one win since the start of November, 111-93 over a Milwaukee squad missing both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday.
The Spurs have been at least a +3.5 point underdog in all but one contest during their 11-game slide, losing 143-138 at home to the Lakers on November 26th as inexplicable -1.5 favorites.
Not only is San Antonio bad, but they’re also banged up with starters Jakob Poeltl (knee), Devin Vassell (knee), and Jeremy Sochan (quad) out, and even coach Greg Popovich missing the last two games after undergoing a medical procedure.
Rockets at Spurs Pick
This line of Houston -1 is either a trap or really just a classic case of overthinking. The Rockets are not good by any means at ten games under .500, but they have an energetic young backcourt and have shown improvement over the past two weeks.
The Rockets’ defense may be a liability, but San Antonio’s is even worse, ranking dead last in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Perhaps playing this one ‘over’ 233.5 would be the way to go here, considering the defensive woes of both teams and the fact that Green, Porter Jr., and Keldon Johnson should all go for 25+ points in this game.
One thing hindering an ‘over’ play is the Spurs missing their leading scorer Vassell (20.5), which is also what makes Houston the side to back here.
Pick: Rockets -1