Houston Rockets -12.5
Fri February 29 ’08 8:35p
Since dumping Pau Gasol for pennies on the dollar, the Memphis Grizzlies have declined from ‘bad’ to ‘truly dismal’, the single worst team in the entire league. The Grizzlies woes have been on full display against quality teams in hostile environments. Since beating Indiana in Indianapolis on January 2nd, the Grizz have lost eleven consecutive road games. They’ve consistently lost by double digit margins against mediocre foes like Washington, Charlotte, Philadelphia and the LA Clippers. And when Memphis tries to step up in class against strong playoff caliber squads, their results have been even worse. New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, Golden State and Detroit have beaten the Grizzlies by an average of nearly 20 points per game.
Friday’s opponent, the Houston Rockets, have manhandled the Grizzlies with ease in both previous meetings this year, winning by 13 at home and 20 on the road. Houston is the hottest team in the NBA, winners of twelve straight, going 10-2 ATS in the process. The Rockets have enjoyed this tremendous run of success by pounding one weak foe after the next, beating Minnesota, Milwaukee, Indiana, Sacramento Atlanta, and Miami, covering big pointspreads repeatedly in the process. Yao’s season ending injury made headlines in Houston all week, but the reality is that their overall level of improved play has come due to the success of their role players –point guard Rafer Alston, Shane Battier, Luis Scola, Carl Landry, Luther Head and the recently acquired Bobby Jackson. Facing a demoralized foe with both limited talent and depth, we can expect the Rockets role players to have their way throughout as they cruise to victory. Take the Rockets.