The Houston Rockets have had a back-and-forth December, and look to get over .500 Sunday as they travel to take on the lowly Toronto Raptors at Air Canda Centre.
Houston has won two straight, after dropping the Boston Celtics 101-89 on Friday, with unheralded power forward Greg Smith coming off the bench to score 20 points.
James Harden led all scorers with 21 points and chipped in three steals, while forward Chandler Parsons nearly earned a triple double with 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Point guard Jeremy Lin only managed five points, but contributed seven assists and two blocks as Houston improved their home record to 9-5.
The Rockets can improve their poor 2-6 road mark, against the 5-19 Raptors.
Toronto did snap a six-game win streak on Friday, after beating the Dallas Mavericks 95-74 behind forward Linas Kleiza’s 12 fourth quarter points.
Kleiza finished with 20 points off the bench, and Toronto forced 17 Dallas turnovers, and held them to 0-for-13 from 3-point range.
Sunday, the Rockets may rely on center Omer Asik more, who can take advantage of Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas.
Asik is blowing away his career-highs with 10.5 points and 11.5 rebounds, this season, and can take advantage of Valanciunas, who has had trouble against most experienced big men this season.
Betting Odds: Houston is favored by 4.5 points
Over/Under: 200 points.
Prediction: The Rockets have proven they can score against any team, but their defense is near the bottom of the league, with 104.1 points surrendered per game. Luckily, Toronto has no consistent go-to scorer or floor general, with point guard Kyle Lowery sidelined with a torn triceps. Look for Harden and Lin to lead Houston to their third straight win.
Predicted Score: Houston 100, Toronto 82