The Rockets had to do absolutely everything within their power to try and win Game 3 at home on Saturday night, and they did. It took an overtime session, but Houston was able to get back into the Western Conference semifinals against Golden State with a 126-121 win on Saturday night.
Kevin Durant was his usual incredible self, but the Rockets were able to take advantage of the continued struggles of Steph Curry. I wouldn’t be shocked if Curry comes out aggressively in Game 4, especially on the heels of his embarrassing failed dunk attempt that essentially sealed Game 3 for the Rockets.
|2019 ATS Home||18-27-1||26-17-2|
|2019 ATS Away||21-24-0||19-25-1|
|2019 O/U Home||19-27-0||21-20-4|
|2019 O/U Away||25-20-0||17-26-2|
Kevin Durant has put the Warriors on his back in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Following a lackluster start to his first-round matchup with the Clippers, Durant caught fire over the series’ last three games and the Clippers had no counter. Durant has been similarly unguardable through the first three games against Houston. The former MVP is averaging 35.6 points per game in the playoffs as a whole on blistering 51.5% shooting from the field and 43.8% shooting from three-point range.
Durant poured in 46 points on Saturday night, but it still wasn’t enough. None of the other four starters scored more than Draymond Green’s 19 in the game, while no bench player finished with more than Shaun Livingston’s three points. Curry shot just 7-23 from the floor, including 2-9 from long distance. He also turned the ball over three times and committed five fouls.
Klay Thompson finished just 6-16 in the game himself. Durant showed in the last round that he’s capable of beating the Clippers by himself, but the Warriors are going to need more contributions from their supporting cast if they want to beat a stronger Rockets outfit.
The Warriors dominated the offensive glass in each of the first two games, which led to a boatload of second-chance points. That wasn’t the case in Game 3, though, as Golden State was held to just seven offensive rebounds (compared to 17 for the Rockets).
It’s obviously too early for the Warriors to panic, considering a win tonight gives them a commanding 3-1 lead with two of the remaining three games (if necessary) at Oracle Arena. Still, letting Houston gain even more confidence by evening the series tonight would start to lead to some doubt regarding the Warriors’ chances of closing things out.
James Harden nearly matched Durant with 41 points of his own in Game 3, including a step-back three-pointer inside the final minute of overtime that essentially sealed the win for Houston. The Rockets also got 30 points in yet another stellar effort from Eric Gordon, while P.J. Tucker led the way with 12 rebounds in a tenacious effort of his own.
The Warriors have a clear edge in overall talent, but the Rockets have the deeper team at this point. The vast majority of the production is still coming from the five starters, but Houston did get strong showings out of bench cogs like Iman Shumpert, Austin Rivers, and Nene in Game 3.
The Rockets have now made more three-pointers than the Warriors in each of the series’ first three games, which is quite the storyline. This marks the first time across the 92 playoff games Steve Kerr has coached that an opponent has out-shot the Dubs from long range in three straight games. Golden State is now just 12-12 in playoff games when out-shot by opponents from beyond the three-point line.
Houston can’t afford to miss the chance to even the series tonight. A loss in this game likely ends their season, so I’m expecting another gutsy effort out of Harden, Tucker, and Gordon. Chris Paul has been fairly quiet in this series, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out and put his stamp on Game 4 either.
It’s always admittedly at least a little tempting to bet on the Warriors whenever they’re underdogs. That hasn’t happened very often over the last few years with Durant around, so I won’t blame you if you want to jump all over Golden State at -105 to win the game outright on the moneyline.
That said, I’m picking the Rockets. This series was always destined to go seven games, and I think it will. In order for that to happen, I think Houston obviously has to take care of business on their home floor tonight. The betting value on the Rockets covering the 1-point spread (-110) is slightly better than taking them on the moneyline (-115), but both are viable bets.
Bet on the Rockets to even the series on Monday night.
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