Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Houston Rockets Preview and Pick – 28826

Cleveland Cavaliers -1 (44-11) at Houston Rockets +1 (36-21) O/U 184.5 8 PM ET Thursday February 26, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers travel to the Lone Star State to play the red hot Houston Rockets. No Tracy McGrady, no Rafer Alston, no problem for the Rockets, as many wrote them off after their scoring machine was lost to the year due to injury and they traded away their starting PG. However, the Rockets have moved up to the 4th position in the Western Conference, have won 5 games in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Speaking of hot teams, the Cavs have also won 5 in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. The time may be now for the Cavs to make a push to overtake the Celtics for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, since the Celtics are without Kevin Garnett for a couple of weeks, which is probably the main reasons the defending champs lost to the lowly Clippers last night. The Rockets can really prove they are a legit threat if they can beat the Cavs tonight.

This season the Rockets are 23-6 at home and the Cavs are 18-11 on the road.


Hoops bookies have the Rockets as 1-point favorites with the total around 184.5.

The Cavs come into this game after crushing the Memphis Grizzlies 94-79 on Tuesday night. LeBron James was not the high scorer in that game for the Cavs, as Daniel Gibson came off the bench to score 19 points on 8/14 shooting. For the game the Cavs shot 31/72 for a FG% of 43.1%. On D the Cavs held the Grizzlies to 34/81 from the floor for a FG% 42%.

The Rockets come into this game after beating the Portland Trailblazers 98-94 on Tuesday night. The high scorer in that game for the Rockets was Ron Artest going for 21 points on only 5/13 shooting, but did go 9/10 from the charity stripe. For the game the Rockets shot 36/82 for a FG% of 43.9%. On D the Rockets allowed the Blazers to shoot 37/84 from the floor for a FG% of 44%.

The Cavs rank 11th this season in scoring (100.8 ppg) and the Rockets rank 17th (98.5 ppg). On D is where these teams shine, as the Cavs rank 1st in points allowed (90.5 ppg) and the Rockets rank 7th (94.9 ppg). The Cavs are also holding their opponents to the 2nd lowest FG% (42.66). Both these teams are pretty even on the boards, as the Rockets have a rebounding differential of +3.4 rpg and the Cavs are at +3.3 rpg.

This season the Cavs are a good bet, as they are 35-18-1 ATS and the Rockets are 26-29-1. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Cavs are 24/30 and the Rockets are 29-26-1.

On the injury front SG Tracy McGrady is out for the Rockets and SG Sasha Pavlovic is Out and SG Delonte West is day-to-day for the Cavs.

Both of these teams have lost 5 in a row, but one of those streaks will end tonight.

Ron Artest is a defensive whiz and he will match up with LeBron James (28.5 ppg), which is exactly why the Rockets brought Artest on board. Nobody can really stop James, but Artest has to contain him and not let him dominate the game.

The thing is James has not lit up the scoreboard in the Cavs’ last 2 games and they have still won, which is something they have not been able to do in the past few years.

The Rockets cannot only concentrate on containing King James, as Mo Williams (17.6 ppg) and Delonte West (12.6 ppg) can also fill it up. However, West sat out the Cavs last game and he will be a game-time decision tonight. If West can’t go it will be a huge blow to the Cavs.

Daniel Gibson blew up for 19 points in the Cavs’ win on Tuesday and if West can’t play he may have to step up again and pick up the scoring slack.

Another huge match up in this game will be between the two centers of Yao Ming (19.8 ppg) and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (13.6 ppg). If Ilgauskas can play good D on Ming it will give the Cavs a big advantage.

Jason’s Pick: We’re fading the huge line move here and taking Houston at home.