Date and Time: Thursday, April 2, 2014 7:00 PM EST

Game Line: Toronto -1.5, Game Total: 202 (from JustBet)

Wednesday NBA analysis: The Houston Rockets travel north of the border on Wednesday night to take on the Atlantic division leading Toronto Raptors.

Houston comes in to Wednesday night’s matchup coming off a 103-94 loss at Brooklyn on Tuesday night. The Rockets are currently 4th in the Western conference standings, 1 ½ games ahead of Portland. Houston is currently on a two game skid after putting together 5 consecutive wins. They are the 3rd highest scoring team in the league, averaging 106.8 ppg and are led by All-Star guard James Harden, who is averaging 25.1 ppg.

Toronto comes in to Wednesday nights matchup off a 93-83 loss at Miami on Monday night. They have won 4 out of their last 6, and are currently 3rd in the Eastern conference standings. They are definitely one of the surprises this season, as DeMar Derozan and Kyle Lowry make up one of the more talented backcourt combos in the league.  The Raptors are averaging 100.7 ppg while allowing 97.6 ppg.

This is a great situational matchup in my opinion, and I’m laying the short number with the Raptors. Houston has lost 6 straight at the Air Canada Centre, and I expect the trend to continue tonight. The injury bug has certainly taken its toll on the Rockets, with point guard Patrick Beverley and center Dwight Howard currently unable to play. Forward Terrence Jones is also not expected to play, which leaves Houston with 9 players suiting up for tonight’s contest. Houston played last night, and center Omer Asik was filling in for Dwight Howard. Asik played admirably, but it was noticeable in the 4th quarter that he was not used to the minutes, as the fatigue was definitely noticeable. Patrick Beverley may not be the biggest factor on the offensive end, but he is one of the top defenders in the league and he has been missed. For Toronto, point guard Kyle Lowry is a game-time decision, but should he not play, Greivis Vasquez would get the start, and he can certainly get the job done. Toronto is currently the 3rd in the Eastern, tied with Chicago and only a game and a half ahead of surging Brooklyn. I’m pretty sure the Raptors would like to hang on that #3 spot, with possibility of playing a struggling Indiana team in the conference semis instead of Miami. Houston on the other hand a big matchup at home with Oklahoma City on Friday, and this could present a tad of a look ahead spot for the Rockets. While I think the Rockets will be competitive, I think the depleted roster playing on a back to back without their starting point guard is at a tremendous disadvantage. I look for Toronto to pick up the win and cover tonight.

Houston Rockets vs. Toronto Raptors Free NBA Pick: Toronto -1.5 Over 202

Houston Rockets vs. Toronto Raptors Game Prediction: Toronto 106 Houston 99


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