Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets Predictions: Are The Dominant Warriors Back?

NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his prediction and picks for the Sunday night matchups between the Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets and the Knicks vs. Cavaliers.
Jonathan Macri
Sun, November 7, 7:49 AM EST

Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets Predictions: Are The Dominant Warriors Back?

When: Sunday, November 7, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Spread: Warriors -12.5

Total: 223.5

Click Here For Warriors vs. Rockets Odds

Warriors vs. Rockets Prediction

The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA. Controversial statement? Let’s go through the evidence:

  • They’re the only one-loss team in the league, and that was a three-point overtime defeat at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies in which Steph Curry went 7-for-20 from deep and 11-for-29 overall.
  • The Warriors are first in net rating, outscoring teams by 13.2 points per 100 possessions
  • They have far and away the best defense in the league, sporting a 96.0 defensive rating. No other team is under 100.
  • They have Steph Curry, who is the presumptive MVP after nearly three weeks of play.

That last part is where we start here. Curry inherits that title because he’s been the best player on the best team, and he’s a known commodity, but by his standards, at least, he’s having something of a down season. His scoring has dropped to 25.8 points per game after three straight games scoring 20 or less, and he’s hitting just 42.9 percent overall and an almost unfathomable (for him) 37.5 percent from deep.

It hasn’t mattered one bit. The Warriors have won their last three games by an average of 28 points and now face a Rockets team that has been competitive in some games but still sports a bottom-five net rating to go with one win. They’re also playing on the second night of a back-to-back after dealing with the mile-high altitude in Denver last night.

Houston’s close losses should also be taken with a grain of salt. If we’re going by point differential, they’ve only faced one top-tier team: Utah, who beat them by 31 at home.

Golden State may be a bit of a paper tiger themselves, having fattened up on the substandard competition, but the Rockets fall into that category until further notice. This may be one of the bigger lines of the year, but it isn’t high enough. Steph is due for a breakout, and even if it doesn’t come here, the Warriors have more than enough. Go with the home team.

Warriors vs. Rockets Pick

  • Warriors -12.5 (-105)

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction

When: 6:00 p.m. ET

Knicks vs. Cavs Odds

Good luck figuring out the Knicks, who have been one of the more maddening teams through the season’s first 19 days. The latest baffling entry into their logbook came in Milwaukee, where they went down by 21 to the defending champs early in the second quarter, only to reclaim last year’s defensive identity and go up by 23 themselves before coasting home.

The spark plug in that game, as has been the case since they acquired him, was Derrick Rose. Among 441 NBA players this season, he has the second-best plus/minus in the league, with New York outscoring opponents by 95 points in the 198 minutes he’s played.

On Sunday at Madison Square Garden, his primary opponent is likely to be another former Tom Thibodeau point guard, Ricky Rubio, who, like Rose, has the best plus/minus for his team as Cleveland’s backup point guard. Rubio remains a solid defensive presence, but nobody has been able to stop the former league MVP from getting to the restricted area at will, where Rose has shot 70 percent this season.

The real key for the Knicks may be the man starting over Rose. Kemba Walker has struggled at times to find his niche as the third or fourth man on the totem pole in New York’s new-look offense, but his shooting from deep has been a strength nonetheless. Along with fellow newcomer Evan Fournier and last year’s All-NBA 2nd Team forward Julius Randle, the Knicks have three of the leading off-the-dribble 3-point shooters in the league. They’ve relied a great deal on those above-the-break threes to achieve the league’s third-best offense.

That could be an issue against the Cavs, who have thus far limited opponents’ looks from deep, especially above the break, and have instead invited them to challenge their twin towers at the rim, where Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen have combined to limit teams to the fifth-lowest conversion rate around the basket.

The Knicks should take this game, but the combination of their own inconsistency and a potentially tough matchup makes them tough to bet at such a high spread. Instead, take the Cavs and the points.

Knicks vs. Cavaliers Pick

Cavs +8 (-110)

Jonathan Macri
JCMacriNBA
Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball than Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.
Jun 2021
Record
Wins
8
Losses
7
Push
0
ROI
3.35%
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