The Warriors took a 3-2 series lead with a big win at home in Game 5, but they lost Kevin Durant in the process. Durant, who has arguably been the best player in the league during these playoffs, will be sidelined for the rest of this series after suffering a mild calf strain. The news for Golden State wasn’t as bad as some feared, but playing without Durant for the remainder of this series is obviously a massive blow.
Will the Rockets be able to take advantage of the injury and finally get past Golden State? They’re going to need to win back-to-back games to do so, the first of which will take place on Friday night in H-Town.
2019 ATS Home
2019 ATS Away
2019 O/U Home
2019 O/U Away
Now or Never for Houston
The Rockets have been trying desperately over the last handful of years to dethrone the Warriors. They have come up short in their pursuit in each of the last 4 years, but this might be their best chance yet. Houston took a 3-2 lead in last year’s Western Conference Finals before losing Chris Paul for the last 2 games. Now, the Warriors find themselves in almost the exact same situation. Up in the series, but without 1 of their 2 best players.
The Rockets will need Paul to show up if they are to have any shot here. Paul shot just 3-14 and contributed 11 points in Game 5, which was arguably the worst playoff showing of his illustrious career. Assuming he’s not playing through a hidden injury of his own, I think we see a more vintage performance out of CP3 in Game 6.
It’s a do-or-die game for Houston in their own building against a wounded opponent. Vegas is fairly convinced that the Rockets will be able to extend the series to 7 games, as evidenced by the fact that they’re pretty heavy -330 favorites to win the game outright on the moneyline. If they are to do so, they will need Chris Paul to step it up.
James Harden has been the driving force offensively for Houston, but they have also gotten much-needed contributions from complementary pieces like P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon. Tucker has picked up a double-double in 3 of the last 4 games, and he’s eclipsed 10 rebounds in 4 straight.
The team has needed Tucker’s grit with Clint Capela struggling, and he’s been happy to step up to the plate. Gordon has served as a viable secondary scoring option next to Harden witH paul scuffling. Gordon’s shot was off in Game 5 (5-14), but he’s another guy I expect to rise to the occasion in Game 6.
Where do the Warriors Go?
With Durant out, the Warriors are going to need Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to do the heavy lifting offensively for the remainder of the series. Curry was able to lift Golden State to a win last time out after Durant went down, but he has largely struggled with his shooting in the series.
The pressure is off of Golden State in this game, so it really wouldn’t be all that surprising if Curry put in a vintage performance in this one. He’s going to soak up most of the usage vacated by Durant, with Thompson and Draymond Green occasionally chipping in.
The Rockets could also decide to throw double teams at Curry and make some of the Warriors’ lesser playmakers try to beat them, as the Warriors have tried with Harden at times already in this series.
Things were looking dicey for Houston after falling into an 0-2 hole earlier in the series, but they seem to have found their footing ever since. The Rockets can’t afford to let this opportunity slip away, so it’s hard to imagine Houston faltering on their home floor in what is the most important game of the season to this point.
The potential Game 7 at Oracle Arena on Sunday is less predictable, but I’ll side with Vegas here and pick the Rockets to even things up on Friday night. There’s not much value in betting on Houston at -330 on the moneyline. The 7-point spread is pretty big considering that’s still Golden State on the other side, but I think the Rockets can cover it.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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