Jordan’s NBA Picks: 76-56-1, Playoffs 22-18-1
Golden State (64-29 SU & 38-53 ATS) at Houston (59-33 SU & 47-42 ATS)
Friday, 9:00 PM EST, ESPN
Free NBA Pick: Rockets’ TT Over
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
The basketball gods are a fickle bunch. They strike without a moment’s notice and so far, this postseason they have taken out two of the Warriors’ best four players. DeMarcus Cousins might be able to return if the Warriors advance, but Durant is out for the rest of this series and that may be the opening Houston has been hanging around for.
Steve Kerr Needs Blame
I love Steve Kerr. I think he is not only one of the better coaches and overall human beings on this planet, but he is excellent on Twitter and for the media, so he has a special place in my fandom.
However, while the Durant injury is somewhat of a dodged bullet and also pretty minor in the grand scheme of his career, Kerr still has some blame for why Durant got hurt.
Durant was on his way to playing his seventh-straight game of 40-plus minutes in the postseason before going down in Game 5. Kerr has routinely played his starters huge minutes in this series and to close out a prolonged first round for the Warriors.
I’m not saying Kerr shoulders the majority of the blame, but now without Durant for Game 6 and possibly Game 7, Kerr is going to either have to play younger players more, or his remaining starters even more.
I could see the other four Warriors starters pushing or easily exceeding 40 minutes tonight because if they don’t, that means inexperienced young players like Alonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell will have to play in clutch situations down the stretch. Faced with their biggest playoff game since last year’s Finals, it’s not a decision that will be easy for Kerr.
They can’t play Andrew Bogut big minutes, or the Rockets will just go small and run the Warriors right out of Houston and into Game 7. So, with this in mind, how do we play these NBA Odds for Game 6?
The Sharp Pick
With all the uncertainty surrounding the Warriors, I think laying off most of the game, half, or quarter lines is the way to go with this one. Instead, I’m focusing more on the totals, which to me will have the better underrated value coming off the Durant injury.
The one I’m focusing in on is the Rockets’ team total. Sitting at 111 at most shops, it’s definitely a very high number. However, I don’t think the sportsbooks, betting public, or most of the sharps are considering just how bad the Warriors defense gets with Durant off the court.
During the regular and postseasons, the Warriors have allowed 113.9 points per 100 possessions when Durant and Cousins are off the court according to NBA Wowy.
When Durant has been off the court this postseason, the Warriors’ defense goes from allowing 110.5 points per 100 possessions to 122.
All of this considered and with the shock of having to play on the road without your star player, I think the Rockets will run up the score in this one. I do think the Dubs can stay close enough to make those betting on the spread sweat, but I think we could see a higher scoring game from both squads.
Final Score Prediction: Warriors 106 – Rockets 113