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Can Harden Tie Wilt in 30 Point Games?

After adding some extra help at the trade deadline, the Houston Rockets (33-23 SU, 26-29-1 ATS) hope they have the right formula for another deep run in the NBA playoffs. The Rockets will test their new lineup tonight when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves (26-30 SU, 28-28 ATS); ESPN will air this game at 8 PM ET.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), FS North (Minnesota) LINE: Rockets -3.5; O/U: 232.

James Harden strives to extend his streak of 30-point outings to 31 tonight. Another 30-point performance by Harden will tie Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest streak in NBA history.

As part of a series of moves, Houston acquired veteran guard Iman Shumpert from the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. Shumpert was enjoying a bounce-back year in Sacramento with the minutes he was given. He provided a steady hand on defense and a little bit of everything on offense. He’ll take over as a back-up wing for the departed James Ennis III, who is now with the 76ers. He also provides an insurance policy in case PG Chris Paul suffers another hamstring injury.

The Timberwolves didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline. They are rapidly falling out of contention in the Western Conference at 5-8 SU and ATS in their last dozen games. Swingman Robert Covington (knee) and guard Tyus Jones (ankle) remain out indefinitely. PG Derrick Rose is listed as day-to-day with an ankle issue. The status of guard Jerryd Bayless (toe) is undetermined at press time.

Harden finished with a flurry to reach 30 during Monday’s 120-104 win over the Dallas Mavericks. He was hindered by an ailing left shoulder he hurt on Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets have defeated Minnesota in 17 of the past 21 meetings, but the Timberwolves won this season’s first matchup. Minnesota won for just the second time in its past eight contests on Monday. They won 130-120 over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.

This, That, and a Dart Throw

Harden’s streak was in deep jeopardy on Monday as he had just 20 points with under three minutes to play. He poured in 11 late points, including a 3-pointer with 52.9 seconds to surpass 30. Chris Paul had 11 assists to move into eighth place on the all-time list with 8,972. He surpassed “The Glove” Gary Payton, who accumulated 8,966 from 1990-2007. Kenneth Faried is averaging 16.3 points, on 75-of-116 shooting, in 11 games since joining the club.

Derrick Rose (22 points, six assists) and Jeff Teague (19 points, 10 assists) were both on the floor in the same game for the first time since Jan. 20th. They ignited the squad out of its recent slumber. Teague, who has a bum foot, missed eight straight games before returning for Friday’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans. Rose missed six of the previous seven before suiting up Monday. The Timberwolves held the Rockets to 29 second-half points while racking up a 103-91 home win on Dec. 3rd.

PREDICTION: Rockets 118, Timberwolves 110

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NBA Trends

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Trend Over is 4-1 in Timberwolves last 5 games as a favorite of 5.0-10.5. Hit % 80.00% (5) O/U 4|1 Push 0 W/L
  • Over is 17-5 in Timberwolves last 22 games as a home underdog of 5.0-10.5. 77.30% (22) 17|5 0
  • Over is 6-1 in Timberwolves last 7 games as an underdog of 11.0 or greater. 85.70% (7) 6|1 0
  • Over is 22-10 in Timberwolves last 32 games as an underdog of 0.5-4.5. 68.80% (32) 22|10 0

Houston Rockets

  • Trend Over is 7-0-1 in Rockets last 8 games as a favorite of 11.0 or greater. Hit % 100.00% (8) O/U 7|0 Push 1 W/L
  • Under is 19-6-1 in Rockets last 26 games as a road underdog of 0.5-4.5. 76.00% (26) 6|19 1
  • Over is 6-2 in Rockets last 8 games as a road underdog of 5.0-10.5. 75.00% (8) 6|2 0
  • Under is 22-7-1 in Rockets last 30 games as a road favorite of 0.5-4.5. 75.90% (30) 7|22 1

Rockets vs. Timberwolves Trends

  • Trend Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Minnesota. Hit % 83.30% (6) O/U 5|1 Push 0 W/L
  • Over is 17-6 in the last 23 meetings. 73.90% (23) 17|6 0
  • Rockets are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. 70.00% (10) 0 7|3

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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