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Houston Rockets guard James Harden looks at an official in the first quarter of a basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 in Minneapolis.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden looks at an official in the first quarter of a basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 in Minneapolis.|Andy Clayton- King | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Wednesday: Greg Frank picks Hornets vs Nets and Rockets vs Nuggets — Can James Harden bring Houston's win streak to 8?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

My Season stats: 1-1 Tuesday, 29-21-1 overall.

Hornets (+4.5) @ Nets (219.5)

Pick: Hornets +4.5

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to lay these many points with the Nets right now. Only once in the last six games have the Nets won by more than 4.5 points. There are also four straight-up losses in those last six for Brooklyn. Kyrie Irving remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. However, the Nets still seem to be pretty expensive in the point spread market. After 13 games, they are 5-8. The Hornets have played one more game and has one more win coming into tonight with a 6-8 record. Charlotte and Brooklyn being even teams one month into the NBA season probably feels weird to come to terms with, which explains the inflated line at home tonight. With Irving sitting again, the Nets should probably be more like a one or two-point favorite here. You’re paying a bit of a premium to back the team with bigger preseason expectations. We’ll take the other side.

Rockets (+2) @ Nuggets (223)

Pick: Nuggets -2 and Under 223

The Houston Rockets have not lost a game since November 3. James Harden and company roll into the Mile-High City on a seven-game winning streak. However, even in the loss column in the Western Conference with the Rockets right now are the Nuggets. There’s still plenty of basketball to play of course, but it’s entirely possible we see these two teams square off with the stakes much higher in May. As for tonight, it’s the fourth game in six days for the Rockets and Houston has alternated home-road-home-road in those four games. The Nuggets had a couple days off and blew out the Grizzlies in their last game on Sunday as only Jamal Murray played more than 30 minutes in the 131-114 win for Denver. While losses to Atlanta and New Orleans likely left Nuggets fans scratching their heads, they do seem to get up for opponents like the Rockets. Denver’s biggest games so far this season were at home against a streaking Miami team and at home against Philadelphia. The Nuggets won both and blew out the Heat by 20 points. Both games also landed comfortably under the closing totals. Of course, it’s a small sample size, but going back to last season, where the Nuggets 29-20 ATS at home including the playoffs and 27-22 to the under in those games, there’s good reason to think that Nuggets wins at home will correlate to the under. Considering this is two of the top teams in the Western Conference, we’d expect good energy defensively, so we’ll take the home favorite and the under tonight in Denver.

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