NBA Playoff Betting — Game 6: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
Okay, so the Houston Rockets won the battle, but they may wind up losing the war. What do they do now? How would YOU approach it? They are now up three games to two in the finals of the NBA Western Conference, leaving the Golden State Warriors in a position where they have to win two games in a row to advance to the final round against the Cleveland-Boston winner. They are traveling to Oakland, where the Warriors’ Game 4 loss to them was their only post-season defeat at home in the last 17 tries. And they are without Chris Paul, their point guard and a mainstay of the offense, who is out with a hamstring injury and would probably be no better than questionable for Game 7, if that indeed happens. That is the scenario as these teams meet up at 9:05 PM ET at the Oracle Arena.
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We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again – even though Mike D’Antoni is the guy who has been known for racehorse basketball in the past, it is the slower pace that is to his team’s advantage, and that is what they will look to do once again. In Game 4 it was 89.9, and in Game 5 it was 92.0, and this has made it more palatable to execute their half-court sets, which includes a lot of isolation. James Harden is usually the guy who makes those plays, and he is better when he drives than when he pulls up. That was evident in Game 5, as he went 5-for-10 on two-pointers and was 9-for-9 from the free throw line, but missed all eleven of his three-point attempts. So obviously Golden State would like to force him to take more outside shots.
Will that be more possible with the absence of Paul, who suffered a hamstring injury just as his foot was feeling better? Or will the Rockets be able to simply improvise? Well; D’Antoni has been successful in the last couple of games using just seven men in his rotation, and you have to imagine that somebody like Ryan Anderson might be used a little more. If that is the case, he’s another three-point shooter in the rotation. But it will make Harden act more in the role of a point guard.
In the NBA playoff betting odds posted on this game at BetAnySports, the Warriors are huge favorites:
Golden State Warriors -12.5
Houston Rockets +12.5
Over 212.5 points -110
Under 212.5 points -110
Paul has been a very useful guy for the Rockets, averaging 13.2 points during the second halves of game during this series, and that would be missed. They could start Eric Gordon in his place, and of course, that would take away some of the effect of Gordon as a premier sixth man. What the Rockets really have to do is play defense; they have done that pretty well the last couple of games, and combined with slowing things down, they have held Golden State below 100 points in each of the last two.
Kevin Durant has made just 17 of 46 shots in these last two games, and the Warriors have to understand that isolating him and just relying on him to go one-on-one with somebody is not the way they have won a pair of NBA titles. In none of these five games have the Dubs made 300 passes, and their average for the season was 335. They’ve had as many turnovers as assists the last two contests, and that just won’t do. And they need to get out on the break a lot more. So this team has problems that are not necessarily going to be solved solely because they don’t have to deal with Chris Paul.
But what we have to wonder here is what Houston’s attitude is going to be. If Paul could rest and play Game 7, would this team decide to rest a lot of people if things didn’t look promising? We don’t like to use the word “tank,” but is it conceivable that with victory something that wasn’t likely, they might go all-in for a one-off on their home floor? That’s what makes this game difficult to handicap. If the Rockets are reasonably close at the half, we could see them covering.
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