- The Rockets responded with a big win in Game 2
- Balanced scoring is the key to victory for Houston
- Will the Warriors’ home dominance continue in Game 3?
The heavyweights of the NBA’s Western Conference have now each exchanged blows, with Houston punching back after a lackluster Game 1 to draw even in the series with an emphatic 127-105 win in Game 2. The series continues on Sunday at Oracle Arena at 8:00 p.m. EST.
The Rockets had not lost back-to-back home games in the playoffs or even back-to-back games in general since January 6th, and they ensured that trend continued. Houston was lead by 27-point nights from James Harden and Eric Gordon and a career-high 22 playoff points from PJ Tucker.
The Rockets’ PJ Tucker had a career-best 22 playoff points in Game 2.
Harden, Gordon and Tucker were three of five Rockets’ players to finish with double-digit points compared to only Kevin Durant (38) and Steph Curry (16) for the Warriors.
It’s not that Houston changed their game plan that much from Game 1 to Game 2. They actually only ran one less isolation play and completed only two more passes—they were just more effective. The Rockets lead 26-21 after the first quarter and never looked back, leading 64-50 at the half after being up by as much as 19. Compared to Game 1 when Golden State held an 18-3 advantage in fast break points, Houston flipped the script to lead 12-7 in Game 2 and 10-2 at half.
The Rockets were careless with the ball in Game 1 and lost the turnover battle 13-9, however the Warriors put themselves in a hole early in Game 2 with 11 of their own in the first half alone.
Warriors Have Been Unstoppable at Home
If the Rockets hope to carry momentum into Game 3, they’ll have to do so against what’s proven to be one of the toughest home court advantages around. The Warriors have won 15 straight home playoff games dating back to last year and their smallest margin of victory at home during these playoffs was five points. Their average margin of victory in this year’s playoffs at home is 13.3 points. In fact Golden State has never lost back-to-back playoff games with Kevin Durant in the lineup.
|May 16, 2018 – WCF Game 2||HOU||127-105||HOU|
|May 14, 2018 – WCF Game 1||HOU||119-106||GS|
|January 20, 2018||HOU||116-108||HOU|
|January 4, 2018||HOU||124-114||GS|
|October 17, 2017||GS||122-121||HOU|
Golden State has never lost back-to-back playoff games with Kevin Durant in the lineup.
Rockets vs Warriors Game 3 Betting Advice
Pick: OVER 226 Total Points
Throughout the regular season these teams met three times with scores totalling 224, 238 and 243 points—good for 2-1 to the Over. In the playoffs they’ve combined for 225 and 232 points to go 1-1. Though the Game 1 total just barely fell under by .5 point.
This total falls right in that territory, and I believe both teams’ offenses will be on full display come Sunday. Durant was a one-man show for Golden State on Wednesday and we should expect bigger things from Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green at home. Curry is actually only 2-13 from three in the series, the first time in his career he has made only one or less threes in back-to-back playoff games.
The Rockets learned their lesson in not letting Harden hold onto the ball all game (in Game 1 he had more total dribbles than Durant, Curry and Thompson combined) and got other players involved. Players not named Harden and Chris Paul only had 42 points in Game 1, while the supporting cast had 47 points in the first half alone in Game 2.
These teams combined for 30-plus made threes during each of their regular season matchups.
Though their have been a slightly fewer three balls from these teams over the past two games (25 and 26), they combined for 30-plus made threes during each of their regular season match-ups.
Be sure to check the injury report for the Rockets’ Paul, as he was seen limping around towards the end of the game, before checking out with about seven minutes to go to ice what looked like a sore Achilles.
|MONEYLINE +280||MONEYLINE -360|
|SPREAD +7.5 (-110)||SPREAD -7.5 (-110)|
|O/U 226 (-115/-105)||O/U 226 (-115/-105)|
*Full season (regular season and playoffs)
|None||(G) Patrick McCaw – Back – INDEFINITE|
|(SF) Chris Boucher – Ankle – INDEFINITE|
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