– Eduardo Solano
Rockets vs. Warriors Christmas Day NBA Picks
Can the Golden State Warriors upset the Houston Rockets on Christmas Day?
Houston Rockets (21-9) vs. Golden State Warriors (7-24)
Wednesday, December 25 at 5:00 PM ET (ABC), Chase Center in San Francisco, California
D-Lo Catching Fire
The Rockets and Warriors met on November 6 and the home team won 129-122 in Houston. D’Angelo Russell missed the game because of a sprained right ankle and the Warriors were still able to score 112 points. Having D-Lo back has made them a better team.
Russell led the Warriors with 30 points in their 113-104 home win against the Timberwolves on Monday and he comes into this game averaging 27.0 points in his last three contests.
The Rockets are on a roll and they haven’t forgotten how the Warriors eliminated them in their last two playoff appearances. Look for them to come out fired up, ready to make a statement. The Warriors are healthier now and they will give their best for the home crowd. I see this game going Over the total.
How Each Team Can Win
For the Rockets to win comfortably, James Harden (plus-11.2 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) has to explode, like he usually does and Russell Westbrook has to step up, particularly on defense against D’Angelo Russell (plus-3.8 Offensive Box Plus/Minus).
The Warriors will go as Russell goes and they also need Eric Paschall to play well. He had 19 points and six rebounds in the first meeting against the Rockets and the Warriors need his production, particularly because Draymond Green (minus-2.6 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) isn’t playing well on offense.
Green also missed the previous game against the Rockets (torn ligament in his left index finger) but he’s been decent defensively (plus-1.7 Defensive Box Plus-Minus). He has to help the Warriors clear the glass so they can limit second-chances for the Rockets, wh ranks 22nd in the league, shooting just 35.1 percent from beyond the arc.
The Over is 8-3 in Golden State’s last 11 games following a straight up win, 4-1-1 in their last six games against a team with a winning straight up record and 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.
The Warriors are just 23rd in the NBA, averaging 43.6 rebounds per game and they won’t be in this game unless they can grab plenty of boards.
Look for Alec Burks to be an X-factor in this game. He had 28 points off the bench in Houston and he’s playing well, averaging 17.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 30.4 minutes over his last 10 games.
Burks (plus-0.9 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) has been a solid contributor off the bench and his offense is another reason why I like this game to go Over.
NBA Pick: Over 226.5 (-110) at Intertops