This may be surprising to some, but there was NBA action yesterday. Lost in the excitement of Super Bowl Sunday was an excellent performance by the Sacramento Kings, who handed the Los Angeles Clippers a 113-110 loss at Staples Center. De’Aaron Fox scored 36 points and the Kings improved to 7-1 SU/8-0 ATS in the eight games since their last meeting with the Clippers. Sacramento has done this on the back of its offense, which has averaged 116 points every 100 possessions during this winning streak. The Kings will play host to Philadelphia on Tuesday, which will a big test of the legitimacy of their recent run.
The Kings were not the only undervalued team in action on Sunday either, as the Charlotte Hornets pasted the Washington Wizards 119-97 at home despite closing as very short underdogs. Charlotte is now 12-5 ATS in its last 17 games, but the market seems to be stubborn in its evaluation of this team. In fact, we could be seeing another instance of that today, as the Hornets are on the second leg of a back-to-back, playing host to Houston tonight.
It’s the perfect place to begin our game notes:
Note: * indicates that team is on second leg of a back-to-back.
Updated injury reports can be found here.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
Houston Rockets (-2.5, 220.5) at Charlotte Hornets*
Despite the success Charlotte has had over its last 17 games, the market refuses to budge. Houston is now up to -3.5 after opening -2.5, even though Christian Wood is still sidelined with a brutal ankle injury suffered on Thursday. Wood is Houston’s leading scorer, and when he is off the floor this season the Rockets’ offensive efficiency drops from 112.4 to 104.3 points every 100 possessions; their net rating drops from + 4.4 to -1.0 in those minutes as well. On Saturday, their first game without Wood since the injury, the Rockets averaged just 1.050 points per possession, shot 31.6 percent from deep and managed just 0.947 points per possession in the halfcourt. It’s pretty clear their offense struggles when Wood is not in the picture.
Houston’s defense, on the other hand, doesn’t struggle without Wood. The Rockets still held San Antonio to 1.069 per possession, and that has been a common theme throughout this season. Houston has made its way to third in defensive efficiency (106.7), and none of its previous seven opponents have averaged more than 1.069 points per possession. How the Rockets defend a Charlotte team that has been hitting its stride on offense will be key.