The Houston Rockets are in Oakland tonight for game four of their best of seven series with the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets are down two games to one in this, the Western Conference Finals, and must win tonight if they want a realistic chance to stay in this series with the defending champion Warriors. The Warriors are big -9-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 225 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from Oracle Arena in Oakland.
What else can be said about game three that hasn’t already been said? The Warriors basically took the Rockets behind the woodshed and gave them an old fashion country beatdown. The Dubs outscored the Warriors in every quarter and blew them completely out, 126-85. The 41-point massacre has to be demoralizing to the Rockets, it was an ugly affair.
All the talk of Steph Curry being hobbled by injury after a slow start to the series were dashed when Currey Exploded for eighteen points in the third quarter, and the Warriors really put the game away. Curry played thirty-four minutes and scored thirty-five points and made five threes. So much for Curry being ineffective the rest of the way out. He looked healthy and pissed off and took it out on Houston. If the Warriors get a similar performance from Curry tonight, this game is likely to be another blowout.
Golden State shot 52% from the field and 41% from deep in game three. We know that Houston, and especially their best player, James Harden, aren’t a great on the defensive side of the ball. But if they let Golden State shoot like this again, I just don’t see any way that they can stay competitive. You just aren’t going to get into a shootout at Golden State and come away winning, it’s just not going to happen.
The talk of this series heading into game three was the struggles of Steph Curry and Chris Paul. We saw what Curry did to break out of his postseason slump. But for Paul, he struggled yet again. Paul wasn’t terrible, he scored thirteen points and snatched up ten boards. But where they needed him the most in this game was running the offense and facilitating, and he failed miserably at it. Paul ended up with just four assists and two turnovers, and the offense was stagnant all-day long.
The worst part of game three for me was the fact that Houston gave up. They quit in the fourth quarter. I know the game was well decided before then, but this is the playoffs, you can’t just quit when you are losing. But I suppose that personifies the nature of both Chris Paul and James Harden. Neither one of them has ever had any success in the postseason and it might just because when the going gets tough, they disappear. They did that in game three, and if they do it again tonight, it’s going to get ugly once again as this Warriors team looks poised for a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
This line opened at -8-points for Golden State and shifted to -8.5 and now it stands at -9-points. It is hard not to like Golden State to blow them out tonight as they have blown them out in both big games that they needed to win. In game one the Warriors set the expectations for the series right away with a double-digit victory. In game two they laid back a bit as they had stolen home court advantage and didn’t really need to win game two, and it showed. And we all saw what happened in game three when it came back to Oakland as another must-win game for Golden State.
And make no mistake this is a must win for Golden State. If they lose tonight at home and the Rockets are able to steal back home-court advantage, that big blowout win in game three will be a distant memory. You live and die by every game in the NBA playoffs, and both teams know they must win tonight.
I can’t believe I am even saying it, But I am going to have to back Golden State tonight laying all kinds of wood. The Warriors have shown that when they want it, and tonight they are absolutely going to want it in front of their hometown fans, that they can easily blowout Houston. At the outset of this series, it felt like this could be one for the ages and end up as an epic battle. Instead, it looks like just another small bump in the road to yet another finals appearance for Golden State.
I hate to lay this many points in the playoffs, but this smells like another Golden State blowout. The Rockets cut bait and ran after the first signs of adversity in game three, and I can see that happening again tonight. We are getting a slight break on the juice at -105 instead of the standard -110, but you can expect that to go away as I feel the public is going to keep firing on Golden State. It wouldn’t shock me if this number moved even further towards the Warriors. When everyone is on the same side, I generally like to get on the other side, but in this one, I am going to follow the sheep and lay a bunch of points. Give me the Golden State Warriors -9 points tonight in game four!