The Rockets finally defeated the Warriors in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. What should be the right NBA pick for Game 5 on Wednesday at Oracle Arena in Oakland?
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They finally broke through in this series, and they might be in a position where they could take advantage of an unusual occurrence. Stephen Curry, the MVP of the league and the star of the Golden State Warriors, took a nasty fall in Game 4 on Monday night. He did not play for a quarter, and it was felt by many that he was not going to play in the entire second half as a precautionary measure before Game 5. He did re-enter the game, but who knows how he’s going to feel in Game 5? Who knows how effective or in rhythm he’s going to be? If there’s one player Golden State absolutely needs to play well, it’s Curry. Any other player can have an off game as long as Curry is there to save the day. Yet, if Curry doesn’t get comfortable in Game 5, Houston could do all the things it did in Game 4 and also Game 2 to threaten the Warriors and force them to make a lot of difficult plays under pressure. Golden State, even though it leads this series 3-1, has shown that it can take plays off on defense, relaxing when it should be stepping on Houston’s throat. If the Warriors continue to display bad habits and go through six- or eight-minute periods in which they just aren’t very attentive, Houston could bust through and take full advantage. It’s very possible, and it’s not something to take lightly.
Must Read: How to Beat the Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They know that they gave up 45 points in the first quarter of Game 4. They know they relaxed when they should have played a lot harder. They know they didn’t put forth their best effort on defense. They know that Houston got some shooting performances – Josh Smith going 7 of 8; Terrence Jones going 6 of 11 – that aren’t likely to happen again in the series. The Warriors also know that Shaun Livingston, who had been really good in this series, played poorly, scoring just four points in 16 minutes. Golden State is aware that Curry, due to his injury (a contusion, not a concussion), was out of rhythm in Game 4 and has a chance to bounce back in Game 5. Because of everything that happened in Game 4, you should see a much more determined and focused Golden State team in Game 5.
Here’s where you need to wait for a ruling from the NBA office before making your pick on this game: Dwight Howard elbowed Andrew Bogut in the head in Game 4. That play could be upgraded to a flagrant 2 foul, in which case Howard will not play in Game 5. If Howard is out, that would obviously help the Warriors.
The Warriors are a 10-point NBA odds home favorites and even if Dwight Howard is allowed to play, Golden State is too good and too tough to lose hold of this series. The Warriors should be able to finish off the Rockets, so take them with your NBA picks .
NBA Pick: Golden State -10 at the Greek