The Rockets look to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals against the Spurs. San Antonio is favored by 5.5 points on the NBA odds board and the total has been set at 215.
San Antonio had no answer to Houston's explosive offense and they lost the series opener 126-99. It was the worst loss in a Game 1 for the Spurs under Gregg Popovich and they have to find a way to solve the Rockets' 3-point shooting or they will go to Houston down 2-0.
The Rockets made 22 of 50 3-point shots (the most 3-pointers attempted and made against the Spurs in their playoff history). Trevor Ariza led the way with 23 points, James Harden scored 20 points and dished out 14 assists and Clint Capela added 20 points and 13 rebounds. Lou Williams and Eric Gordon stepped up off the bench and combined for 24 point and five 3-pointers.
Houston led by as many as 39 points and they played solid defense, holding Kawhi Leonard to 21 points on just 5 of 14 shooting. Tony Parker finished with 11 points, Jonathon Simmons added 10 and LaMarcus Aldridge was limited to just four points. Aldridge has to do a better job at both ends of the court to give the Spurs a chance to even this series.
The Rockets are 11-6 ATS against division opponents, 12-4 ATS as an underdog and 27-16 ATS in road games.
The Spurs are 22-23 ATS in home games, 8-14 ATS after a division game and 9-14 ATS against division opponents.
The Spurs are 5-point home favorites on the NBA odds board and we can expect coach Popovich to make some and adjustments and have them ready to have a better performance in Game 2. As I mentioned ahead of Game 1, the Houston bench, led by Lou Williams and Eric Gordon will play a critical role once again.
The Rockets lead all playoff teams with 46.0 points per game from their bench. Williams and Gordon's efforts to carry the offense while Harden rests can make a difference for a Houston team that is now 3-0 ATS in their last three road games. I'm adding the Rockets +5.5 to my NBA picks.