NBA Pick on Warriors to Take 2-0 Series Lead with a Rout

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, May 21, 2015 3:47 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 21, 2015 3:47 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Thursday.


While Game 1 was closer than expected, look for a far more decisive win Thursday night by the team with the best record in the NBA when the second seeded Houston Rockets (64-31, 27-19 away) again pay a visit to those Golden State Warriors (76-17, 44-3 home) for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals from Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA at 9:05 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN, with the Warriors leading the series 1-0.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Golden State as a big favorite for this contest with the current line at -10 with odds of -110.

Surprising Start to Game 1
We were dead wrong in our selection of the Warriors -10½ in Game 1 as we thought it was a great spot for a Golden State blowout with the Warriors being fresh and the Rockets having just one day off after completing an emotional and near-miraculous series comeback vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. But instead it was the Warriors that began the game lethargically while the Rockets were aggressive and red-hot at the start.

In fact the Rockets were shooting around 62 percent when they had a 47-31 lead with seven minutes left in the second quarter, quieting the normally rowdy Oakland fans at a venue where the Warriors have been the losing NBA picks just three times all year. But Golden State received its late wake-up call and outscored Houston 27-8 over the rest of the first half to go to the locker room with a three-point lead en route to the ultimate non-covering victory.

More Aggressive Warriors?
Despite the slow start the Warriors had in Game 1, they still shot a very commendable 46.7 percent for the game which actually turned out to be better than the 46.5 percent the Rockets ended up shooting despite the blazing start. In fact, once the Golden State defense got the wake-up call with seven minutes left in the second quarter, the Warriors outscored the Rockets 79-59 over the game’s final 31 minutes!

So what would have happened had the Warriors been the more aggressive team from the start? Well, we have a sense that we will find out tonight as we do not expect Golden State to come out flat on both ends of the court again, which in turn means we do not expect another hot start from the Rockets.

And the Warriors are a joy to watch when they are executing like they were after the middle of the second quarter, as this is still the team that led the NBA in scoring (110.0 points per game), field goal percentage (47.8 percent), three-point shooting (39.8 percent) and pace rating (100.7 possessions per game) during the regular season.

But while all that is well and good, the real reason the Warriors are legitimate championship contenders is because they also led the league in defensive efficiency and in field goal percentage allowed (42.8 percent), separating them from flashy offensive pretenders of the past that treated defense as an afterthought.

Houston Defense Always an Issue
Now, the Rockets can score also as they finished sixth in the league in scoring with 103.6 points per game thanks in large part to James Harden just missing winning the scoring title with his 27.4 points per contest. However, whereas the Warriors are well balanced on both ends of the court, the Rockets were not a good defensive team during the season finishing 17th in the league allowing 100.7 points per games, and they have been considerably worse in the playoffs.

In fact, Houston allowed 112.6 points per game over the seven games vs. the Clippers with the fewest points allowed being the 100 surrendered in the decisive Game 7 win, and after allowing the 110 to the Warriors Tuesday even with Golden State snoozing for more than a quarter at the start, the Rockets are now allowing 111.4 points per game throughout these playoffs.

To put that in perspective, that leaves the Rockets 15th among the 16 playoffs teams in points against this post-season while the other three teams still playing are all in the top four defensively with the Cavaliers first allowing 92.3 points per game, the Warriors third (95.3) and the Hawks fourth (95.8). The only team that allowed more points than Houston was the Mavericks (114.2), who the Rockets beat in the first round.

Still Perfect Head-to-Head Straight Up
Finally, prior to the non-covering Game 1 win by the Warriors, Golden State went a perfect 4-0 both straight up and ATS vs. the Rockets during the regular season with all four wins being by double-digits by an average of +15.3 points.

Look for Golden State to remain perfect vs. Houston for the year, but this time with a much more authoritative double-digit blowout in Game 2 at home in Oakland on Thursday.

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NBA Pick: Warriors -10 (-110)

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