NBA Picks: Zig-Zag Situation Gives Rockets 75% ATS Success vs. Warriors in Tonight's Game 2

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, May 21, 2015 2:59 PM GMT

Thursday, May. 21, 2015 2:59 PM GMT

The Warriors took the series lead against the Houston Rockets, when they won 110-106 on Tuesday. Will this be a series sweep or do the Rockets have a chance to win it? Find out what our NBA pick is.

Houston Rockets vs. Golden St. Warriors (-10-) 9:00 ET ESPN
This Round 3, best of 7, 2015 NBA Playoff series continues on Thursday at 9:00 pm ET where the Warriors are being favored by the NBA betting odds by double digits.  It will be televised by ESPN.  As a backdrop to Game 2 of this series, consider the fact that Golden St. won all 4 meetings in the regular season by 11 or more points, with the most recent game being played January 21st.  It appeared that Golden St. would likely duplicate those victories in game 1 of this series, when they hosted a Houston team who had been extended to the limit just 48 hours earlier with a 113-100 Game 7 home court victory of their previous series against the LA Clippers.  Remember that at the beginning of that Houston/LAC series, the Clippers were in the same negative scheduling scenario, after defeating the defending champion, San Antonio Spurs, in 7 games.  Yet, the Clippers played a great game in shocking Houston 117-101.  In a similar way, Houston responded with an outstanding effort Tuesday night. The Rockets bolted to a 16 point, 2nd quarter lead before watching Golden St. close out the first half on a scorching run which gave them a 3 point halftime lead.  It appeared the Rockets could be toast for the 2nd half!   Yet, with 5 minutes remaining in the game, the score was tied.  An 11 point Golden St. burst opened up a spread covering lead, but again the Rockets retaliated before the Warriors closed it out in the final seconds. The first game hero for Golden St. was MVP, Stephen Curry, who had a line of 34/6/5 in nearly 40 minutes. 

The Rockets refusal to go away was even more surprising as their best interior player, Dwight Howard, played only 26 minutes (sprained knee), missing the majority of the 2nd half.  But, James Harden, the runner-up MVP, singlehandedly kept the Rockets in the game in the 4thquarter, scoring 8 consecutive points in one 3-minute span.  Harden finished the game with 28 points, 11 boards and 9 assists in 42 minutes of play. Howard is again questionable for tonight’s game.  Clearly, his availability would be a positive for the Rockets. But, as Game 1 evolved, it became clear that the preferred up-tempo pace of each of these teams dictated success with smaller lineups. That may prove to be an omen for the balance of this series.  If so, key substitutes, Brewer, Jones and Prigioni, will need to step up for the Rockets and veteran starter, Jason Terry, will need to do better than his 7 points. Smith (17) and Ariza (20) will also need to continue to carry their share of the load.

For Golden St., it was meaningful that starting center, Andrew Bogut, played just 16 minutes and failed to score. The Warriors are clearly comfortable with a smaller lineup, featuring Draymond Green (13/12/8), as their biggest man on the floor.  Starters, Thompson, Barnes, as well as 6th man Livingston, aided Curry with a combined 47 points. They are the key components to the Warriors’ up-tempo success.  

There is a continuing belief that the Warriors’ strong home court, where they are 45-3, and the slightly better defense, make them the odds on choice to be the series victor.  But, Houston proved their ability to play with this team in Game 1 and never gave up! In addition, the Rockets are in an outstanding Game 2 NBA Playoff zig-zag situation that has an overall indicator of greater than 75% ATS success, including numerous subsets that hover around 90%.  Golden St. may get the Game 2 victory, but Houston has proven that they are capable of hanging around.  In this optimal situation, we back them for the pointspread victory for our NBA picks.  

NBA Pick: Take Houston Rockets at BookMaker

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