The Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors seemed to cross paths in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. For this third game we have our NBA picks ready, so let's have a look.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They watched Houston once again establish superiority in a number of categories, and were still able to win in Game 2, showing that if they ever play a complete game, it will be more than enough to dispose of the Rockets.
Golden State was beaten on the offensive glass, 11-7. The Warriors made only nine free throws in Game 2, compared to 13 for Houston. Golden State committed six more turnovers, 16 to 10. The top seed in the Western Conference watched Klay Thompson hit just 1 of 7 three-point shots for the second straight game in this series. This team isn’t playing anywhere close to its full potential, and yet it was still able to win again. Nobody would say that this team is operating at peak efficiency. Yet, it is still finding ways to prevail while also being favored by the NBA odds. If Klay Thompson goes off, or if Harrison Barnes (3 of 8 field goals, 1 of 2 on threes, no free throw attempts in Game 2) gets untracked, the Warriors should have enough firepower to deal with anything Houston can throw its way.
Keep in mind that Dwight Howard, though effective and resilient in Game 2 (19 points, 17 rebounds), is still batting an injury and might not be able to play as well in Game 3. The Rockets came to Oakland full of confidence entering this series after coming back from a 3-1 deficit to eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers, but now, after the tough Game 2 loss, Houston might be depressed, enough for Golden State to take advantage.
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They are down 2-0 in the series despite doing a lot of good things. Houston is right there and just needs to make another play. James Harden frequently finishes at the rim in the open court, but at the end of Game 2, he simply didn’t. Harden was incredible in Game 2, scoring 38 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out nine assists, and singlehandedly keeping his team alive. If Harden continues to play at this elite level, Houston’s role players should be able to play better at home. Dwight Howard went for 19 and 17, as mentioned above, and he’s not even fully healthy. Terrence Jones was great in Game 2, hitting 6 of 12 shots for 12 bench points. This team is defending Klay Thompson well. It is doing so much of what it is being asked to do. Slightly better defense against Steph Curry is what this team needs to produce in Game 3. If it does, it should win, given the flow of this series.
The Warriors lead the series, but Houston’s been a lot more competitive than many were expecting. However, it still feels like the Warriors can play better and home-court advantage may not be a huge factor, as evidenced by Houston not being frazzled in Golden State. In this spot, the Warriors actually opened as a one-point road favorite.
Instead, I’ll go under the number with my NBA picks again. It seems like the defense is shining in this series.
NBA Pick: Under 216.5 at GT Bets