Tuesday’s Tip Sheet

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Game of the Night: Rockets at Nuggets – 9:05 PM EST

It’s been a tough encore season for Houston (5-7 SU, 4-8 ATS), who owned the top record in the NBA last season at 65-17. The Rockets started 1-5, but rebounded with three consecutive victories at Brooklyn, Chicago, and Indiana. Houston couldn’t quite reach the .500 mark as the sputtering offense was limited to 80 points at Oklahoma City and 89 points at San Antonio in a pair of low-scoring losses.

The Rockets’ offense got back on track at home on Sunday in a 115-103 triumph over the Pacers to grab the season sweep of Indiana. Houston finally picked up its first cover at Toyota Center in five tries this season, highlighted by a 44-point second quarter. James Harden posted his best offensive performance of the season with 40 points, including hitting eight three-pointers. Last season’s MVP bounced back from a horrific shooting effort in Saturday’s loss at San Antonio in which Harden converted only 1-of-13 attempts from downtown.

The Nuggets (9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS) stormed out to a red-hot 9-1 start, but have stumbled of late by dropping three consecutive games. After losing in the final seconds at Memphis last Wednesday, Denver was stunned at home by Brooklyn, followed by a seven-point defeat at Pepsi Center to Milwaukee. Paul Millsap paced the Nuggets with 25 points and Denver drilled 18 three-pointers on Sunday night, but allowed the Bucks to shoot 57% from the floor as the Nuggets hit back-to-back OVERS for the first time this season.

This series has been owned by the Rockets recently as Houston has won seven consecutive matchups, including a three-game sweep last season. In the lone meeting at Pepsi Center, Houston jumped out to a 13-point lead after one quarter and held off Denver, 119-114 to cash as 4 ½-point road favorites. Harden led the way with 41 points, while Chris Paul chipped in 23 points for the Rockets, who have won in each of the past three visits to Denver.

Quick Turnaround

The Warriors (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS) lost for the second time in three games following a 10-1 start as Golden State plays with no rest against Atlanta. The defending champions rallied from a nine-point deficit to force overtime last night against the Clippers, but L.A. picked up the 121-116 triumph as 3 ½-point underdogs. Kevin Durant paced the Warriors with a triple-double (33 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists), while Klay Thompson scored 31 points as he attempted 31 field goals.

Stephen Curry sat out for the second straight game with a groin injury, as the two-time MVP will not suit up tonight. Golden State has actually fared better as a heavy favorite this season by owning an 8-2 ATS mark when laying at least seven points (0-4 ATS as a six-point favorite or less). The Warriors head back on the highway for three games starting Thursday in Texas, as Golden State hooks up with Houston in a Western Conference Finals rematch.

The Hawks (3-10 SU, 5-8 ATS) continue a four-game road swing after dropping a one-point decision to the Lakers on Sunday night. Atlanta grabbed the cover as 11-point underdogs, but the Hawks lost for the eighth time in nine games. Rookie Trae Young registered his fifth double-double of the season by scoring 20 points and dishing out 12 assists against Los Angeles, as Atlanta cashed in its second straight opportunity as a double-digit ‘dog.

Golden State has won seven consecutive meetings with Atlanta since March 2015, as the Hawks have covered in two of their past three meetings at Oracle Arena. The Warriors have stepped up with no rest this season by blasting the Suns by 20 points and crushing the Bulls by 25 points last month.

End of the Road

The Hornets (7-6 SU, 9-4 ATS) wrap up their three-game road trip as Charlotte tries to pick up back-to-back wins for the third time this season. After falling short in overtime at Philadelphia on Friday, 133-132, the Hornets rebounded by knocking off the Pistons on Sunday, 113-103. Charlotte pulled away in the second half thanks to Kemba Walker’s 24 points, while veteran guard Tony Parker put up 24 points off the bench for the Hornets’ second consecutive cover.

Charlotte is flipped to a road favorite tonight at Cleveland as the Cavaliers (1-11 SU, 6-6 ATS) are seeking their first victory of November. The Cavs rallied from an early 14-point deficit against the Bulls on Saturday, but lost a 99-98 decision at the United Center as 4 ½-point underdogs. The backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Rodney Hood each scored 20 points, while Cleveland outrebounded Chicago, 53-38 in the loss.

The Cavaliers are riding a five-game UNDER streak, while scoring 98 points or fewer four times in this stretch. Cleveland’s worst loss of the season came at Charlotte on November 3 in a 126-94 setback as 9 ½-point underdogs. The Hornets scorched the Cavs for 57% shooting from the floor, as seven Charlotte players finished in double-figures. Cleveland owns an 0-3 SU/ATS mark as a home underdog this season, while Charlotte lost in its last road favorite opportunity at Chicago on October 24.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.