January 22nd, 2018
The Houston Rockets (32-12 SU, 22-21-1 ATS) have the second-best record in the NBA, but they might be the league’s top team when both Chris Paul and James Harden are healthy. Both MVP candidates are expected to suit up for Wednesday’s road game against their in-state rivals, the Dallas Mavericks (15-31 SU, 23-22-1 ATS), beginning at 8 PM ET on ESPN.
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Harden recently missed seven games with a strained hamstring; the Rockets went 4-3 SU and ATS during his absence, but are 2-0 SU and ATS since his return on January 18. Earlier this year, Paul sat out 14 games with a bruised left knee, and Houston went 10-4 SU and 7-7 ATS. The two All-Star guards have otherwise worked very well in their first season together.
Meanwhile, this has been a difficult year for the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki has aged gracefully, but he’s merely competent now instead of a top player in the league, and center Nerlens Noel remains out until February after tearing a ligament in his left thumb. Assorted backcourt injuries have also put extra pressure on rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., although his performance level has improved dramatically as the season has progressed.
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