The Western Conference Finals continue in the Lone Star State with the two teams that most expected to be here squaring off. The second-seeded Golden State Warriors are on the road for Game 2 of their best of seven set with the top-seeded Houston Rockets Wednesday night. Golden State drew first blood in the series as they pulled away in the second half to earn a 119-106 win Monday night in Game 1. The Rockets own a 121-92 edge in regular season wins and took two of three this season, including a 116-108 home win in the last matchup January 20. In the postseason, Golden State has won both previous series and holds a 9-2 edge in head to head playoff wins.
Golden State Warriors Look to Take Commanding 2-0 Edge
Golden State stole home court advantage from the Rockets by taking the opening game of the series here. The Warriors now look to take a commanding 2-0 series advantage with the series heading back to Oakland for Games 3 and 4. Golden State seemed to relocate their missing three point stroke, which vanished in the first two rounds of the postseason, and shot the ball well in order to pull away for the win. Can the Warriors build off their Game 1 success and take down the Rockets again on the road or will they revert to form and head back home even at one game apiece.
The Warriors are shooting 47.4 percent from the field in the postseason as a team this year. Golden State is converting 10.1 three pointers a game despite shooting only 33.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Warriors have been good at the charity stripe, cashing in 82.2 percent of their chances so far. In Game 1, Golden State shot 52.5 percent from the field and converted 13 of 33 three point attempts. The Warriors hit 22 of 25 free throws, held a commanding 18-3 edge in fast break points and forced 16 Houston turnovers in the victory. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 37 points in the contest. Klay Thompson added 28 points, Stephen Curry put up 18 points, six rebounds plus eight assists and Andre Iguodala chipped in 11 points in the win. Draymond Green struggled offensively as he had five points, nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks.
Houston Rockets Seek to Square Series
Houston rolled through the first two rounds of the postseason as they dispatched the Timberwolves and Jazz in five games apiece. The Rockets were flat as they were unable to contain Durant and their defense lagged, which cost them the opening game. With that, Houston lost home court advantage in the conference finals and now has to regroup to avoid falling in a 0-2 hole. That’s going to mean a better showing from a lot of the Rockets’ role players after disappointing showings in the opener. Can Houston regroup and even the series at one win apiece?
The Rockets have had all kinds of problems shooting the ball in the postseason. Houston enters this contest shooting only 44.7 percent from the field in the series. The Rockets’ three point shooting has been inconsistent as they hit 35.3 percent from beyond the arc while draining 14 three pointers a game. They hit 78.8 percent at the charity stripe. In Game 1, Houston shot 45.9 percent from the field and hit 13 of 37 three point attempts while going 15 of 21 at the line. The Rockets owned a 42-37 edge on the glass. James Harden led the way for Houston with 41 points and seven assists in the loss. Chris Paul finished with 23 points plus 11 rebounds though he had only three assists. Eric Gordon added 15 off the bench while Clint Capela chipped in 12 in the loss. The Rockets have to get more from PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza, who combined to hit three of 17 from the floor for a total of nine points.
- Warriors are 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points
- Warriors are 4-14 ATS in their last 18 games playing on 1 day of rest
- Rockets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
- Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
Golden State put together the win in the opener as they outscored Houston 63-50 in the second half after being tied at 56 at halftime. The Warriors are going to try to push the tempo again and use their small ball lineup in order to test the Rockets. Houston has to be better defensively than they were in Game 1 as they can’t allow Golden State to shoot better than 52 percent from the field. The Rockets need more from their role players and Mike D’Antoni will get his team ready to go. Look for Houston to square the series as they win a tight contest.
Pick: Houston Rockets -1.5
Golden State switched things up in Game 1 as JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia both were DNP – coach’s decisions. The Warriors stuck with their starting five of Durant, Green, Curry, Thompson and Iguodala, which seemed to work. Of course, Green has to rein in his temper as he picked up his first technical of the series just 67 seconds into the game. Seeing Thompson fire up as many three point attempts (15) as Curry had field goal attempts was a surprising factor as well. Quinn Cook, who was a big part of the rotation down the stretch in the regular season, didn’t play either. Houston has to get production from their role players as Harden can’t do it all alone. Capela needs to be more involved on the offensive end of the floor as well for the Rockets to have a shot.
The under is 4-0 in the Warriors’ last 4 overall, 4-0 in their last 4 road games, 4-0 in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 4-0 in their last 4 vs. Western Conference opponents and 4-0 in their last four against the Southwest Division. Houston has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 11-0 in their last 11 against the Pacific Division and 7-1 in their last eight after an ATS loss. The teams have stayed under the total in six of the last seven meetings in Houston and eight of their last 11 meetings overall. Game 1 fell just short of the total: look for this one to follow suit.