Rockets had a great chance to beat Warriors in Game 1 of the West Conference finals. They led the first half by 16 points but couldn’t hold it long. Can they at least cover the NBA odds for Game 2?
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They saw that a lot of the matchups in this series can work well for them. Consider all the good things that happened for the Rockets in Game 1: Trevor Ariza was excellent in the small forward spot, the second best Rocket on the court (after James Harden). Ariza scored 20 points in a crisp 7 of 10 shooting performance. He made 4 of 5 three-point shots. He made some late defensive plays to power a Houston rally which fell just short. If he continues to play the way he played in Game 1, the NBA odds underdog, Rockets, have a very good chance of winning Game 2.
Josh Smith wobbled late in the game, but overall, he was solid for Houston, hitting 6 of 16 shots and grabbing seven rebounds while handing out five assists and blocking three shots. Smith made contributions in a lot of areas, and if he can finish a few more plays close to the basket, the Rockets will be right there in Game 2 with a chance to win.
James Harden was outstanding for the Rockets in the second half. He hit 11 of 20 shots and scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half. He was unguardable for several minutes in the fourth quarter. If he plays up to this standard in Game 2, Houston should like its chances. Clint Capela was 4 of 4 and provided great energy in 13 minutes. If he can continue to play like that in Game 2, the Rockets will feel more confident they can swipe a road win.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They could play so much better than they did in Game 1. The Warriors got no points and only four rebounds from Andrew Bogut, who got into early foul trouble and never found his rhythm throughout the night. Klay Thompson was just 6 of 18 from the field, 1 of 7 from three-point range, and he had a hard time stopping James Harden in the fourth quarter. Guarding Harden could hurt Thompson’s offense, but he’s too good to continue to miss as many shots as he missed in Game 1. Andre Iguodala scored just four points, did not attempt any three-pointers, and generally lacked the offensive and defensive presence he displayed in the previous round against the Memphis Grizzlies. Two starters (Bogut and Thompson) were bad, and a key bench player struggled. The Warriors still won Game 1. If everybody’s on the same page, playing well at the same time, this team should win Game 2 comfortably.
The Rockets continue to roll offensively. They’re very confident at the offensive end and a number of their roleplayers are playing well. Even if they don’t win Game 2, they should be able to hang around and cover once again. However, Golden State was fairly rusty and sloppy in Game 1, and still could have very well covered as they had a double-digit lead with minutes to go in the game. I’m going to avoid the sides and go under the number with my NBA picks. I see the Warriors defense improving in Game 2 and this game staying under the huge total of 220.
NBA Pick: Under at GTBets