- The Houston Rockets trail the Golden State Warriors 3-2 in their NBA Western Conference semifinal
- Golden State forward Kevin Durant (right calf strain) is done for the series
- Does Durant’s injury make Houston a better bet to win the the NBA championship?
A year ago, the Houston Rockets were leading the Golden State Warriors 3-2 in the NBA Western Conference final. But they squandered their advantage. The Rockets lost the set in seven games and Golden State carried on to win a second straight NBA title.
This spring as the same two teams clash in the NBA Western Conference Semifinals, it’s the Warriors who hold the 3-2 edge. But forward Kevin Durant, who’s been Golden State’s best player in the series, won’t play in the remainder of the set due to a right calf strain.
Does this open the window of opportunity for a Houston comeback? A cross section of leading sportsbooks believes that to be the case. The Rockets’ average NBA championship odds have gone from +630 on May 6th to +430 on May 9th. Can they finally win it all?
2019 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||2019 NBA Championship Odds at Bovada|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+6500|
*Odds taken 05/10/19
Houston hasn’t reached the NBA Finals since winning back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995.
Is Harden Free to Roll?
Individually, there’s no question that James Harden puts up numbers. The Rockets guard and reigning NBA MVP is a scoring machine. He’s scored at least 29 points in every game of this series.
Kevin Durant vs James Harden reminds me of some legendary player matchups like: Michael vs Isiah, Michael vs Clyde Drexler, Michael vs Reggie Miller, Kobe vs Allen Iverson, Shaq vs Tim Duncan…
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 7, 2019
Harden and Durant were staging an epic showdown in this series. Through the first four games, Durant was matching NBA scoring leader Harden point for point, shot for shot.
Update on Harden v KD through 4 games:
Harden has 143 points on 108 shots, with 29 rebounds & 20 assists.
Durant has 144 points on 100 shots, with 20 rebounds & 18 assists.
— nick wright (@getnickwright) May 7, 2019
Now, Harden’s road block has been removed. His nemesis is sidelined. His chance to shine, to dominate, to take control of this series and topple the defending champs beckons.
Can the Rockets Deliver Fireworks?
En route to a title, every championship team must overcome an obstacle to earn the right to lift that trophy. There comes a time when adversity will confront them, and they must push past it to be the best.
"There is no excuse for the Houston Rockets not to win this series."
— First Take (@FirstTake) May 9, 2019
For the Rockets, that impediment has always been the Warriors.
They will never be offered a better chance to derail Golden State’s train than right now.
— NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2019
Houston is coming home for Game 6. They Rockets have already beaten the Warriors twice on their home floor in this series. And that was with Durant in the Golden State lineup.
You Just Know They Won’t
When Durant hobbled to the dressing room late in the third quarter of Game 5, Golden State led 68-65. A team with a killer instinct would have pounced.
The Rockets rolled over and died.
Last night, Steph closed it out while Harden went silent. pic.twitter.com/ugSV6kbs30
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 9, 2019
Harden, the NBA’s best scorer, took one shot in the final 8:30 of the game.
James Harden’s shot chart over the final 8:30.
Chance to steal Game 5 with a chance to then close out at home.
The guard with the most dominant scoring season in 30 years…
… takes one shot. pic.twitter.com/tbUjH1lGF4
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) May 9, 2019
In the past, the Rockets have never offered anyone a reason to believe in them when it mattered most. Why should now be any different?
Don’t waste your money betting on Houston. Stay with the Warriors.
Pick: Golden State Warriors (+120)