The Houston Rockets will try to get their first win in the Western Conference semifinals against the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant had a team-high 29 points to lead the Warriors to a 115-109 win in Game 2.
Klay Thompson finished with 21 points on 8 of 18 shooting and Stephen Curry was able to score 20 points despite going just 3-for-13 from beyond the arc.
Saturday, May 4 at 8:30 PM ET
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by Bookmaker
- Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets (-3.5 at -115)
- Over/Under: 222 at -110
Is Harden to Blame?
Sports analytics and strategy site Positive Residual explained that James Harden actually shot as efficiently against the Warriors during the first two games of this series as he did during the regular season: 56 percent true shooting but there are two key differences, his higher shot usage and the fact that the Warriors are forcing him into the floater range.
James Harden’s already taken more shots in the floater range (16 / 28% frequency) during the first two games of the series than he did during the regular season against the Warriors (12 / 13% frequency). That’s come partly at the cost of rim attempts (from 20% to 14% frequency).
Positive Residual clarified that these stats do not include turnovers. James Harden has had two more turnovers per 100 possessions against the Warriors during the playoffs than during the regular season and his assists are also down from 13 to 7 per 100 possessions.
It’s clear that the Golden State defense has done a great job of preventing Harden from reaching the rim thus far.
Paul and Capela Have to Play Much Better
Chris Paul has played well but the Rockets need more from him. Being good simply isn’t good enough if he wants the Rockets to beat the Warriors.
Paul is averaging 17.5 points, 5.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in 38.0 minutes over the first two games of this series, which is actually an increase from his regular season averages in points, rebounds and steals but the Rockets won’t turn things around unless CP3’s best version shows up.
Last Tuesday the Rockets committed just four of their 17 turnovers in the second half but failure to take care of the ball early cost them. You just can’t give away possessions to the Warriors. Paul averaged 2.6 turnovers per game in the regular season but he’s averaging 4.5 turnovers in two games in this series and the Rockets won’t win tonight unless he limits his turnovers.
CP3 is shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from beyond the arc in this series but he hasn’t been clutch. When James Harden went down with an injury to both eyes the Rockets need Paul to take over and provide a spark on offense but they got it from Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon, not from him.
During a recent episode of The Jump, ESPN analyst and former NBA player Tracy McGrady said that Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni should make changes to the team’s starting lineup, replacing Clint Capela with Austin Rivers and moving P.J. Tucker to center.
The numbers show that McGrady could be right, Positive Residual noted that the Warriors outscored the Rockets by 17 points during Clint Capela’s 27 minutes on the floor in Game 1 and by 19 during his 33 minutes on the floor in Game 2. The Warriors won these games by just four and six points respectively.
Warriors vs. Rockets Trends and Prediction
The Golden State Warriors are:
- 4-9 ATS in their last 13 Saturday games
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against Southwest Division opponents
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win
The Houston Rockets are:
- 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine home games
- 9-3 ATS in their last 12 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
- 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games overall
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games against a team with a winning road record
The Warriors did what they were supposed to do by winning the first two games of this series at home and if they replicate the level of play they displayed in those contests they will be hard to beat. That said, last Tuesday the Rockets had 17 turnovers and gave up 18 offensive rebounds and even with the Warriors getting 14 more shots the game was still close.
The Rockets can’t lose this game and it will come down to Chris Paul, he has to rise to the challenge, this can be the most important series of Paul’s career and he has to come out aggressive.
Pick: Rockets -3.5