Is it fair to say the Rockets, while looking at times like they may not even cover, have actually had a really good chance to win BOTH games in Oakland? With three minutes to play in each game, I thought I had a pretty good chance to cover. Each game ended with a Rockets possession in the final minute that could have resulted in either tying or taking the lead. It’s been a fun series at the very least, and I’d expect things to be just as intruiging this evening.
We’ll get back to that series in just a minute. But in the meantime, shall we just leave it that the winner of the West will already have the Cavaliers waiting for them? The Cavs did the Birds dirty in Atlanta, winning a second game on the road and this time doing it with Kyrie Irving not even playing. So, for any one still doubting the greatness of LeBron James, he is now two almost definite wins away from the Finals with his best supporting teammates being J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert (both castaways from the worst team in the East Knicks) Tristan Thompson and a center who is being hailed as a rim protecting savior (despite the fact that his last name became a verb meaning “to get dunked on in humiliating fashion). It may be the watered-down East, but what LeBron is doing is pretty awesome.
Ok, let’s get back to the West and tonight’s critical Game Three in Houston.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Golden State Warriors -1.5 at Houston Rockets
I’ve stuck with Golden State throughout this series, and to my detriment. I still stick by my original prediction of Warriors in five (or possibly six), but the massive romping blowouts from the regular season seem to now be a different story. Each game has been close, and the Rockets have held some decent leads at points as well. Harden is playing excellently. They are getting awesome contributions from Trevor Ariza, Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and the role players and Dwight Howard has been good despite being injured. This Rockets team was the two seed after all, and they finally look like a team worthy of said seed.
That said, they are down 0-2 and not in a great spot. SO tonight is their virtual last-stand. They MUST win to stay alive, and we’ve seen recently that this team actually responds well in the face of desperation. They’ve got far more fight in them then it looked like at the 3-1 point against the Clippers, and I expect them to show it tonight.
Look for a good effort at home and for the Rockets to finally be away from Oracle, wherer the Dubs lost only three times this entire season, including the playoffs.
This is a must-win for Houston, and I think they will finally make the one or two extra plays at home that they need to get over the hump.