Should we even consider backing the Rockets with NBA picks? Houston & Golden State reversed course in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. After two really close games in California, the Warriors rolled.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They have asserted their superiority and aren’t likely to look back now. Stephen Curry played like the MVP of the league in Game 3, scoring 40 points on 12 of 19 shooting, 7 of 9 from three-point range. The ability of Curry to become unconscious as a three-point shooter never really ceases to astound. His scoring flurries immediately broke open this game whenever Houston tried to make a push. He also got to the free throw line and made 9 of 10 shots to show that he could score from every spot on the floor and in every conceivable manner. With Curry dominating, the rest of the game is easy for the Warriors. They didn’t even need all their other players to play well. Draymond Green’s 17 points and 13 rebounds helped the cause, as did 12 points and 12 boards from Andrew Bogut. With those two guys playing defense and rebounding while also combining to shoot 13 of 24 from the field, Curry had all the help he needed. It didn’t matter that Harrison Barnes was 0 for 9 and didn’t score a point. It didn’t matter that Klay Thompson once again struggled to hit three-point shots, going 2 for 8. It didn’t matter that Shaun Livingston was an ordinary 2 for 5 from the field, or that Leandro Barbosa was 1 for 4. Golden State got what it wanted and then some from Curry, and the Warriors then clamped down on defense.
How good was Golden State’s defense in Game 3? The Warriors limited James Harden to only three made field goals and 17 total points. They allowed only one three-pointer from Trevor Ariza, who had burned them in Game 1. Terrence Jones, who scored 12 points in Game 2, scored only six in Game 3. The Rockets, as a team, were just 5 of 25 from three-point range in Game 3. Houston really has nothing to fall back on, which is why the Warriors hold all the cards.
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They are desperate. The Rockets have played well when being desperate in these playoffs. You just saw them win three straight elimination games against the Los Angeles Clippers. You saw them become a different team when forced to keep their season alive. You should see that version of the Rockets in Game 4. James Harden is not going to go 3 of 16 from the field again. This team will try harder, and you’re going to see Jason Terry (0 for 4 in Game 3) join Harden in shooting much better from the field.
The Warriors broke Houston’s will in Game 3. Expect them to play with confidence and wrap this series up. The fact that the NBA odds makers had them as a one-point favorite in Game 3 but have posted them as a 4.5-point favorite in Game 4 tells you what you need to know. Beyond that, I’m going to take a shot with NBA picks on the under as well as the Rockets appear very disjointed offensively right now.
NBA Pick: Golden State -4.5 & under 214 at The Greek