Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets (By: Miyagi)
Harden shows no signs of slowing down, he continues to carry his side almost single-handedly and he has gone way beyond that as of late as he took a massive 69 attempts in his last 2 games! He averages a huge 39.4 points in his last 5 games but he also stays a bit more than 39 minutes on the court during that stretch and given the fact that this will be his 6th game in 10 days, how much is too much even for him?
Harden suffered a calf contusion early in the game against the Thunder but didn't stop him from staying on the court for 41 minutes and he is not expected to miss this game. What he is expected though is to compose himself as a third straight game where he will have 34 or more attempts (attempts leading to FTs not included) could be considered an exaggeration or even abuse.
Celtics are the legitimate favorite here, they are slightly worse in offensive efficiency (although average more points) but they are much much better in defensive efficiency, they have better depth and more balance as a team while they bounced back after their bad streak, they took a massive win with a great comeback in OT against the Sixers and can build on that momentum.
Celtics force their opponents to a lot of turnovers (16.2 per game), the vast majority of those to the opposing ball handlers. Harden, who is prone to turnovers, is the primary and in fact solely ball hander ever since Paul was sidelined and given the fact that the Celtics will definitely assign Smart to harass him (whether he comes from the bench or not), Harden's task won't be easy today.
Harden averages a career-high 5.3 turnovers per game this season and he had 6 or more in 15 of his 30 games so far. In his last 4 meetings with the Celtics, he averaged 7.25 turnovers per game and had 7 or more in 3 of those games.
This is Celtic's game to lose and they should find a way to get the job done against Harden but his turnover line seems also great and feels safer, at least for pre-game betting.
World's leading bookmaker
Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets prediction
|Harden Over 5.5 TurnOvers||Pinnacle||1.75||8||6 WON (+6 units)|