The Houston Rockets are one of the hottest teams in the NBA and are looking to extend their winning streak to five games in a Saturday matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans surprisingly topped the Milwaukee Bucks in its last outing thanks to some solid performances from Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe, but will they be able to replicate that performance? Let’s go over how you could approach playing Showdown contests on DraftKings centered around the matchup.
Houston’s defense has been solid since James Harden left to join the Brooklyn Nets, but the Rockets have a few glaring weaknesses in this matchup. While Danuel House’s return has gifted Houston with a much-needed two-way wing, he’s only played two games this season and will have to take on Brandon Ingram, who is one of the game’s most versatile scorers. Ingram is averaging a career-high 24.1 points per game and has scored at least 28 points in three straight games. Christian Wood ($14,700) is the safest option and has only dropped under 40 DKFP three times in his last 10 games. His skill set gives him a clear advantage over Steven Adams.
The best value play to take note of is Ball ($8,700). He’s coming off his best scoring performance of the year with a season-high 27 points. Still, he is cheaper than Eric Gordon ($10,800), DeMarcus Cousins (11,700), Eric Bledsoe ($10,200), and Steven Adams ($9,600) despite having the highest DKFP average of the bunch. He’s likely to play 30 minutes when healthy and should be riding high after picking apart a sturdy Milwaukee Bucks defense in his last outing.
Adams ($6,400) is a rebounding machine and has grabbed more than 15 boards in three of his last five games. His scoring comes and goes, but his efforts on the glass make him hard to pass on. Josh Hart ($4,600) has consistently been one of the Pelican’s top bench contributors this season and has logged at least 25 minutes in 13 straight games. He’s an excellent rebounder for his size and has tallied at least five in every game this season. A hot shooting night could help him become one of the top value plays in this contest.
Cousins ($7,800) has been an excellent value play for most of this season, but Wood's return complicates things. Boogie’s 1.45 DKFP per game is impressive, but he only got 11 minutes on the court in Wood’s return from an ankle injury in his last outing. I expect Cousins’ minutes to drop off and he’s not suited for the speed and athleticism New Orleans brings to the table.
Both these teams are running hot but I think Houston will get the job done in this one. It took spectacular performances from Ball and Bledsoe for New Orleans to edge out the Bucks but the Rockets have won four straight without their best player. I think Houston will take the game by a narrow margin, as they’ve been far more consistent than New Orleans lately.
Final score: Rockets win 115-110