Last Updated: 2019-05-06
The No. 4 seed Houston Rockets bounced back in front of the home fans, defeating the No. 1 seed Golden State Warriors 126-121 in overtime in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Rockets will try to keep the momentum on their side and tie the series with another victory at Toyota Center in Houston, as Game 4 is set Monday night. They are unbeaten in 11 straight contests on the home court, so the reigning champions will have a tall task to pull off an upset and increase their lead ahead of Game 5 in Oakland.
The Warriors will miss DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps), while the Rockets could be without Danuel House (toe) who’s listed as questionable.
The Rockets opened as 1.5-point favorites with the total at 221.0 points and the Warriors at +105 money line odds. The previous duel went to overtime and another tight game is on a horizon, so don’t bother with the spread and take the money line odds.
What’s at Stake?
The Rockets will be in dire straits with an eventual loss, as only 11 teams have managed to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win the playoff series. Interestingly, the Rockets did it twice, beating the Phoenix Suns in the conference semifinals in 1995 and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2015 conference semifinals. In 1995, the Rockets went on to win the championship. On the other side, the Warriors lost the 2016 NBA Finals after leading the series 3-1. Hereof, the stake is huge, but everything is possible even if the Warriors win this game.
Houston outlasted Golden State in Game 3 to put an end to a three-game losing streak in head-to-head duels including a 106-104 defeat at home in the regular season. The Rockets are now riding an 11-game winning streak at Toyota Center and will enter Game 4 ready to extend their impressive run. The Warriors blew a big chance to take a 3-0 lead in the series which could affect their performance on this one.
The Rockets were on the brink of another loss on Saturday, but James Harden and Eric Gordon stepped up in clutch time to lift their team over the Warriors. Harden finished the game with 41 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, shooting 14-of-32 from the field and 5-of-13 from downtown. Gordon was a real X-factor with 30 points on 7-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. Kevin Durant’s 46 points weren’t enough for the Warriors, while Stephen Curry had a poor game, tallying 17 points on 7-of-23 shooting from the field. Draymond Green posted a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Houston finally won the battle on the glass which was a huge factor in Game 3. The Rockets posted 20 boards more than the Warriors (55-35) including 17 offensive rebounds. Also, the Rockets shot 48.4% from the field, nailing 18 treys out of 42 attempts, while the Warriors made 44.2% of their field goals including 14 threes out of 33 attempts from deep.
Once again, the Warriors had more assists and fewer turnovers than the Rockets. However, James Harden is playing a ton of isolations, and the Rockets’ assisted shots are mostly coming from beyond the 3-point line. Houston is averaging just 17.9 assists per game which are the fewest of all 16 teams that made it to the postseason. Also, the Rockets are taking 42.5 attempts from beyond the arc per contest, while the Warriors are taking 31.6.
Clint Capela is still trying to find his role in this matchup, as the Warriors continue to play small ball. However, Eric Gordon is doing a great job, averaging 24.0 points per game in this series while making 41.2% of his 3-pointers. On the other side, the Warriors need more from Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Splash Brothers combined for 33 points in Game 3 which are 13 points fewer than Kevin Durant scored on his own. KD is averaging 35.6 points this postseason, carrying the Warriors on his back, and the Rockets couldn’t find the way to slow him down so far.
Houston is playing some tough defense in the playoffs, allowing their rivals to score 103.6 points per game on 42.6% shooting from the field and just 29.3% from beyond the arc. You have to give them credit for an excellent job on Steph Curry who’s shooting 8-of-32 from downtown in this series.
The Rockets survived Game 3 and I think they are ready to tie the series. The Warriors will be keen to bounce back, especially Steph Curry who’s struggling in this series, but I’m backing the Rockets to extend their winning streak at home to 12 games. James Harden is feeling comfortable in Toyota Center and should put on another top performance, so pick the Beard in the over on his points total. Taking the winning margin of one to five points (any team to win) is another interesting wager, as the previous three duels of this series were decided by six, five, and four points.
The under has hit in Game 1, while the next two games were finished in the over. The under is 9-3 in the last 12 head-to-head duels, and it is 15-5 in the previous 20 H2H meetings in the postseason. Despite a solid defensive effort on both sides, I would take the over here, as there are so many offensive weapons, while Kevin Durant and James Harden both look unstoppable.
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