What a drop the Houston Rockets have suffered early on in the 2015-16 NBA season. James Harden is shooting horribly from the floor, Dwight Howard is either not active or limited and the Rockets simply can’t buy a win. They ran into the brick wall that is the defending champion Warriors last week, but they should have been able to get past the likes of the Nuggets and Heat.

One would have thought. Instead, the Rockets look like a shell of their former self, as they’re trying to work Ty Lawson into their system and also deal with Howard’s shaky availability. It’s led to an ugly 0-3 start and on Monday night it could turn to an 0-4 start. That’s less than ideal, but Harden could need his best game of the young season to keep it from happening. Doing it against his former team – a red hot 3-0 Thunder squad – could make the task even tougher.

We actually put some faith in Harden and co. on Sunday and they ended up being our only mistake among our NBA picks (6-1 on Sunday, 31-14 on the year). Take a look to see if we do the same as we analyze all of Monday’s NBA contests and see who should escape the victor:

Cavaliers @ 76ers

Philly plays fast so it’s possible they could jump on the Cavs at home early, but we all know it’s highly unlikely. They have very few offensive threats and Jahlil Okafor isn’t about to dominate Timofe Mozgov, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao down low. Truly, I don’t know why we’re still analyzing this game. Philly isn’t beating Cleveland.

Pick: Cavs 109, Sixers 96

Bucks @ Nets

These two teams don’t play defense and enjoyed two insane OT battles last year, so it’s quite possible we’re headed for an intense battle. The Bucks have more talent but they have displayed some truly awful defense (something they were good at a year ago) and they’re on the road. Brook Lopez could tee off in this one, so I mildly like the Nets at Barclays Center.

Pick: Nets 105, Bucks 102

Spurs @ Knicks

New York has been rather inconsistent so far this year, but one thing they’ve shown is they’re much deeper than last year and they also can put up points. I’m not sure they keep doing that against the mighty Spurs, though.

Pick: Spurs 108, Knicks 95

Thunder @ Rockets

This is probably the game of the night, as Houston tries to regroup at home against the worst possibly opponent to attempt to do that against. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are playing out of their minds and Houston as looked like total trash. Unless James Harden drops 50 on his former team, the Rockets are going 0-4.

Pick: Thunder 106, Rockets 104

Blazers @ Timberwolves

Minnesota is a surprise 2-0, but they’ve beaten two awful teams to get here. They get a boost at home, but Portland dropped two in a row against the Suns and should be looking to get back to .500. I just don’t think Minnesota can handle Damin Lillard and I think C.J. McCollum also busts loose for another big outing. More than all of that, I just can’t see the Timberwolves starting the year at 3-0.

Pick: Blazers 104, T’Wolves 99

Grizzlies @ Warriors

Memphis has looked a lot better over their past two games (both wins) but now they got to Oracle Arena to try to slow down Stephen Curry and the 3-0 defending champs. The Warriors never lose at home and they have the Grizz’s number, so I doubt Memphis gets it done.

Pick: Warriors 104, Grizz 98

Suns @ Clippers

Phoenix has picked things up with a 2-0 sweep over the Blazers recently, but that’s not overly impressive and now they have to go battle Blake Griffin on the road. The Clippers have looked fantastic en route to a 3-0 start and rarely lose at Staples Center, so I can’t bet against them tonight.

Pick: Clips 111, Suns 104

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