The Western Conference Finals shift to Oakland, California as the Golden State Warriors host the Houston Rockets in game three of the best of seven series. The Warriors upset Houston in game one of the series in Houston. The Rockets fired back in game two to tie the series up at one game apiece, and we are all knotted up as the series shifts to the west coast for game three. The Warriors are big -8-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 226 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5PM PST from the Oracle Center in Oakland.
This has been a series of blowouts so far. The Warriors dominated game one to the tune of a thirteen-point win. The win essentially stole home-court advantage from the Rockets, and after waiting for this series all year long, many were quick to dismiss the Rockets heading into game two. Houston showed they weren’t ready to go away just yet as they returned the favor in game two and blew out Golden State by twenty-two points. That is where we stand now as game three looms this evening.
The Houston Rockets were the best team in the NBA this year, basically, wire to wire. They missed Chris Paul and James Harden for short stretches during the year, but when both of them were on the floor, this team was the class of the NBA. Not only did they finish with the best record in the NBA this year at 65-17, but they also finished with the best road record in the association at 31-10. So, it is very curious that even after blowing the Warriors out in game two, so many people are expecting this game not to be competitive tonight.
The big question mark in this game is what type of production we are going to see out of Steph Curry and Chris Paul. Neither player has played very well through two games, and if Curry continues his poor shooting, the Rockets could very well steal this game and snatch back their home court advantage.
Curry missed all of the Warriors first-round series against the Spurs and was limited in the second round against the Pelicans. He still doesn’t look 100%, and it has really shown. Through the first two games of this series, Curry has shot 2-13 from the land of three. Kevin Durant blowing up in game one was enough to mask the fact that Curry was so bad, but when Durant came back to earth in game two, Curry’s struggled really stood out.
Curry’s point guard counterpart for the Rockets, Chris Paul, is also banged up and struggling. There is a rumor that Paul has a major injury and is playing through it and was seen limping around after the Rockets game two win. Paul is trying to downplay the injury, but his performance has been lacking as well. Whichever point guard manages to play through the pain better tonight is likely to get the win.
Both of these teams are really good. The Warriors are clearly the deeper team and are more experienced, having gone to three straight NBA Finals, picking up two championships along the way. They have been here and know what it takes to win in the playoffs. The Rockets, they are really a two-man show. It is a really great two-man show, with James Harden and Chris Paul, but when it comes to the full roster, you have to give the nod to the Dubs.
But, that being said, I was very surprised to see this number open so high. And I am even more surprised now, that the number is continuing to move towards Golden State. The Warriors have gone from -7-point favorites to now -8-point favorites, and for the life of me I can’t figure out as to why. Because Golden State got hot in game one and won on the road? Really? We are going to completely discount the best team in the NBA this year because of one game?
Well, not me. I highly doubt the Rockets will pull off the upset tonight. The Warriors are currently tied for the longest home winning streak in NBA playoff history, they just don’t lose at home in the playoffs that often. But I don’t need Houston to win this game to win my bet. By snatching up all those points, I can back the Rockets and just hope the game is a competitive one.
The first two games were both major statements, and I expect from here on out we are going to start seeing the tightly contested series we all thought we were in store for a week ago before this series started. The Warriors threw a big punch in game one, and the Rockets countered in game two with a punch of their own. Now the series is tied up, and I expect a battle tonight. These two teams are just too evenly matched to be blowing each other out every game.
So, I am going to grab all of those points and hope for a great game. Give me the Houston Rockets as road underdogs, getting eight points tonight in game three.