Last Updated: 2019-05-09
The No. 1 seed Golden State Warriors outlasted the No. 4 seed Houston Rockets 104-99 as 6-point favorites in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, but the reigning champions lost Kevin Durant who exited the clash during the third quarter due to a calf injury. Hereof, the Rockets are strong favorites to win Game 6 at Toyota Center in Houston Friday night. Last year, the Rockets had a 3-2 lead against the Warriors in the conference finals and lost the final two games without injured Chris Paul, so they have a big opportunity for payback.
Kevin Durant will miss Game 6 and almost certainly stay sidelined for eventual Game 7 in Oakland. KD was brilliant this postseason, averaging 34.2 points on 51.3% shooting from the field and 41.6% from downtown. The Warriors will also miss DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps). On the other side, the Rockets are coming in full strength.
The Rockets opened as strong 7-point favorites with the total at 211.5 points and the Warriors at +270 money line odds. The Rockets are 7-2 ATS in their nine meetings with the Warriors this term, but they are just 3-7 ATS in the previous ten head-to-head duels when listed as favorites. Also, all five games in this series were decided by six or fewer points.
What’s at Stake?
Houston is playing with its back against the wall which means a lot of pressure on the Rockets’ shoulders. On the other side, the Warriors have a chance to avoid drama in Game 7 and close out the series in Texas.
If they lose on this one, the Warriors will probably have to deal with the Rockets without Kevin Durant who’s their best player this postseason. KD’s injury should be a great motive for the Rockets to bring their best game and finally beat the Warriors in the playoff series. However, the Rockets are on the brink of elimination that is always a tight spot.
The Warriors had a 14-point lead at the break in Game 5, but they blew it in the third quarter and even trailed in the final period. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry stepped up down the stretch to help their team overcome the Rockets. Thompson finished the game with 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field, while Curry had 25 points on 9-of-23 shooting. It was another tough night for Steph, but he delivered in clutch time when the Warriors needed most. Draymond Green was two points shy of a triple-double, posting 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
On the other side, James Harden led the Rockets with 31 points on excellent 10-of-16 shooting from the field. Eric Gordon scored 19 points on poor 5-of-14 shooting, while P.J. Tucker added 13 points and 10 boards. Chris Paul was a huge disappointment, tallying just 11 points and six assists while making only three of his 14 field-goal attempts.
The Warriors shot 45.9% from the field and 35.1% from beyond the arc, making 28 assists and 15 turnovers. The Rockets shot 41.8% from the field and 29.3% from beyond the 3-point line while making just 19 assists and 17 turnovers. The Warriors won the battle on the glass (42-39), while each team scored 38 points in the paint.
The Rockets will need more from Chris Paul if they want to force game 7. CP3 needs to be more aggressive and put the pressure on Stephen Curry at the defensive end. Also, the Rockets will have to shoot the ball much better after hitting 12 triples out of 41 attempts on Wednesday. Houston is making 15.5 threes per contest this postseason on 36.0% shooting from beyond the arc. The Warriors will lean a lot on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, so we can expect a bunch of 3-point shots on the other side, too.
The Rockets are listed as strong favorites due to KD’s injury, and I think they will win this game and force Game 7. However, I’ve already mentioned that all previous five games in this series were decided by six or fewer points, and I expect that trend to continue even though the Warriors will be without their best scorer, so I’m backing the visitors to cover a 7-point spread. Picking Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson in the over on their point totals is another interesting bet.
When it comes to the totals, I’m taking the under. The Warriors will miss Durant’s points, while the Rockets love to play at a slow pace. Although the over has hit in three of five duels in the series, we have seen a tough defensive effort on both sides. Also, the under is 12-5 in the previous 17 meetings between Houston and Golden State.
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