In a matchup headlined by the initial return of John Wall to his longtime NBA home, the Houston Rockets visit the Washington Wizards on Monday. Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m. Central at Capital One Arena.
More than the homecoming, Wall and the Rockets are primarily focused on ending a season-long losing streak of five games. They will again be short-handed, with star big man Christian Wood (right ankle sprain) and veteran guard Victor Oladipo (right foot strain) each listed as out.
The Wizards have the third-worst record in the NBA, so on paper, it seems to be a good chance for Houston to end its slide. The Rockets convincingly defeated Washington in late January, even with DeMarcus Cousins starting for Wood. That game, however, was at Toyota Center.
Rockets at Wizards: Lineups, injury reports, and broadcast info for Monday
The lines, courtesy of BetMGM
Point spread: Rockets -1.5 (-110), Wizards +1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Rockets -120/Wizards +100
Over-under: 227.5 (-110 O, -110 U)
Player O/U Scoring Props: John Wall 24.5 (-115 O, -110 U), Eric Gordon 23.5 (-105 O, -125 U), DeMarcus Cousins 13.5 (-115 O, -110 U); Washington TBD
Place your legal, online sports bets in CO, IN, MI, NV, NJ, PA, TN, and WV at BetMGM.
Monday’s starters for Washington (7-17) will likely be Raul Neto, RJ Bradley Beal, Garrison Mathews, Rui Hachimura, and Moe Wagner. Meanwhile, Stephen Silas counters with John Wall, Eric Gordon, Jae’Sean Tate, PJ Tucker, and DeMarcus Cousins for the Rockets (11-15).
The Wizards are on the second night of a back-to-back, though both games are in Washington, which means no travel in between. The Wizards may also benefit from Sunday’s game (a 104-91 victory over the Celtics) having a midday start time, which will buy them a few more hours of rest than what teams normally have in back-to-back scenarios.
Former Rockets guard Russell Westbrook played Sunday afternoon and has yet to play in both ends of a back-to-back this season. Thus, it seems likely that he will miss Monday’s game versus his old team.
Advice and prediction
The Wizards and Rockets are each among the NBA’s 10 worst offenses by net rating, but Houston entered Monday with a huge advantage on the other side. The Rockets are No. 4 on defense for the 2020-21 season, whereas Washington ranks as one of the league’s five worst (No. 26).
On the other hand, the Wizards enter Monday’s game with more confidence, coming off a double-digit victory against Boston (13-13). By contrast, the Rockets are coming off Saturday’s blowout loss at New York.
Logic would suggest that both teams are due for a course correction, and that Houston’s superior defense for the season as a whole should win out — especially with the Rockets being more rested, relative to the weary Wizards. That said, given the poor form shown by Houston in recent games, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence in that prediction.
Prediction: 114-110, Rockets
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Victor Oladipo remains sidelined for Rockets with right foot strain
John Wall ready for first return to Washington since trade to Rockets
Published: 2021-02-15 15:08:22
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