NBA Playoff Picks – Game 4: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
It is obvious that the Houston Rockets are going to have to make some adjustments if they are going to stay relevant in their NBA Western Conference championship series against the Golden State Warriors. They were thwarted at every turn on Sunday, losing by a 126-85 score. And it was their bad luck that Steph Curry suddenly got hot. Now they have to deal with a Golden State team that will go up three games to one, unless they can pull off the upset on Tuesday night. Game time is 9:05 PM ET at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, and BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity to get reduced juice before the game starts, then engage in real-time wagering through the magic of Live Betting Ultra.
Golden State broke things open easily in the second half of Game 3, outscoring used in by a 72-42 margin. Curry, who had done well from two-point range but was missing the mark on triples, made five of them, scoring 35 points and quieting anybody who questioned whether he was all the way back from the knee injury that had previously sidelined him for six weeks. It also helped that Golden State had a tremendous advantage in terms of the turnover margin, committing only eight miscues, while the Rockets coughed it up 19 times.
Thus far, it’s been no contest in terms of the fast-break; the Warriors have a 48-25 advantage, and that illustrates something that a lot of people didn’t take into account – the fact that even though Houston coach Mike D’Antoni has a reputation for playing fast-paced basketball, the Rockets are at a definite disadvantage with regard to the running game.
Still, the theme you here is that they want to step up the pace for Tuesday’s game.
In the odds at BetAnySports upon which we will make our NBA playoff picks in this one, the Warriors are once again solid favorites:
Golden State Warriors -8.5
Houston Rockets +8.5
Over 224.5 points -110
Under 224.5 points -110
Chris Paul, the point guard who was seen as the “missing ingredient” to vault Houston into the #1 position in the West (where they were, with 65 victories), has talked about continuing to push the ball up the court, as the Warriors’ defense in the half-court setting has been a little too good. That’s the problem when you’re facing the defending champs; they can beat you while running, and at the same time beat you when the pace is a little slower. In Game 3 that pace was 94.6 possessions per 48 minutes, and that is below the figure at which both Houston (97.6) and Golden State (99.6) played in the regular season.
Houston’s game is not to fiddle around with the ball so much in the half-court that they can’t even take advantage of mismatches. But their intentions have not always been met with action. Getting 24-second violations like they have is no good. And committing 19 turnovers definitely helps Golden State launch itself into the transition game.
One interesting development is the status of Andre Iguodala, the former NBA Finals MVP who banged knees with James Harden in the third quarter of Game 3 and had to leave with a contusion. He has been listed as doubtful for this one, and if he can’t go, that would cause Steve Kerr to change up things a little, since Iguodala has started the last 12 games. The effect will make the Warriors bigger up front, because Kevon Looney will probably start again. That might push Houston a little farther outside, which on the one hand is where they like to be, as during the regular season they attempted 50.2% of their shots from three-point range, but it might make it more difficult on the inside for Clint Capela, the 6-9 center, to get those layups the Rockets crave.
But we DO know that Houston wants to push this pace, which would probably mean more possessions over the course of Game 4. Since we don’t see them coming up with too many defensive answers for Kevin Durant, who has scored 100 points in the first three games, and Curry has now shaken any frustration he may have had, we’ll go “over” the total of 224.5 points, as it is posted at BetAnySports, were you can get reduced juice, Live Betting Ultra, a great free play bonus, and multiple deposit options, including your Visa card, person-to-person transfers (like Western Union) and the virtual currency of Bitcoin, which is fast and easy with their automated system, and never, EVER incurs a transaction fee!