So far, the Houston Rockets’ $88 million investment in Dwight Howard is paying dividends with the All Star centre helping his new team off to a 3-0 start to the new NBA season.
However, those victories all came against clubs who figure to sit outside the playoffs. The first real test comes tonight when Houston travel to the Los Angeles Clippers looking to win their first four games for the first time since 1996.
Howard is averaging 15.0 points, his lowest since his rookie year, but that ignores the reality that during his eight years in Orlando, he never had someone as offensively gifted as James Harden as a team-mate.
Even though he is pulling down a career-high 17.0 rebounds, what would be a concern is if he continues to shoot only 50% in field goals and free throws. After just three outings, it’s a little premature to judge but there’s more scrutiny on his shoulders to prove he can help the Rockets to truly lift off.
The Clippers have recovered from their opening loss to the Lakers to win two straight while putting up a league-high 113 points. That might be a little harder to accomplish if Howard and Omer Asik are deployed as twin towers in their way but it still looks a good punt on going over the total points line of 207 at 1.88. However, go with the Clippers to bring Houston back down to Earth.
It’s the most remarkable tale of the new campaign that the Philadelphia 76ers are also 3-0 when the entire world, myself included, feared they might not win that many games this side of the All Star break. How have they managed it?
Mainly by pushing up the pace to a league-high 100.8 possessions per night while also averaging 110 points thus far, up over 16 from last season. On Monday they host the Golden State Warriors who are second in pace and they’re also out-scoring opponents by 10.4 to date, behind only Minnesota and Houston. It all points to a high scoring game over the total points line of 211. But back the Warriors to break the Sixers' run on the handicap of -7 at 1.91.
Go over the total points line of 207 in Houston-LA Clippers at 1.88
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