The last time the Rockets and Pelicans shared a floor together was about six weeks ago and the two teams combined to score 253. We’re betting that when they get together tonight, they do something close to the same thing.
Anthony Davis didn’t play in that game for New Orleans. DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points but it was the backcourt combination of Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore that stole the show in the loss. Those two combined for 73 points on 9-for-13 from beyond the arc. Rajon Rondo made three of his five three-point attempts and chipped in a dozen assists.
Holiday has been terrific all season and was snubbed not only from the All-Star Game but from the “All-Star snubs” conversation. Once upon a time, he was an All-Star but it’s been so long, and feels even longer, that he’s been left to be an afterthought. He’s shooting nearly 50 percent from the field but it’s his playmaking and defense that set him apart from most every other two-guard in the league. Holiday averages five assists per game alongside Rondo and is a fantastic defender who probably won’t be recognized for that work at the end of the season, either.
Moore has been much more of a hit-or-miss. His shooting percentages are terrific but the volume fluctuates quite a bit because he is only the fourth or fifth option on any given night. The 36 points he put up in the Houston game are, by far, his season-high to date. That doesn’t mean it was a coincidence, as James Harden is not renown for his defense prowess. With Chris Paul spending most of his time on Rondo, the two wings of New Orleans could be in for another big game.
Both Cousins and Davis were drafted as starters on Team LeBron for the upcoming All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Harden, Houston’s only representative, was selected by Team Steph. Harden had his best game since returning from injury in Houston’s most recent win against Dallas when he collected 25 points on 17 possession and 13 assists. Perhaps most importantly, he only turned it over once. He was a major facilitator the last time he played the Pelicans, throwing 17 assists to guys like Paul, Chris Capela and Eric Gordon, who scored 20, 28 and 27, respectively.
Neither Houston nor New Orleans have been scoring quite as much lately but that doesn’t mean either won’t break out for 120 or 130 tonight. New Orleans is going to come after Houston hard in this game and I think it will do it by trying to outscore the Rockets rather than clamp down on defense. We should get into the 230s.
Free Pick: Over 228