Warriors vs Rockets – Free NBA Pick for Game 3 of Golden State vs Houston

by Rick Rockwell
on May 20, 2018
3

Minute Read

After Game 1, many fans and pundits were already calling for the Warriors to sweep the Rockets. However, Houston didn’t get that memo as they came out in Game 2 and obliterated Golden State by a score of 127 to 105. The Rockets got out to an early lead and never looked back. In fact, they outscored the Warriors in every quarter and looked like the best team on the floor.

Houston had the advantage in just about every important stat for Game 2: better FG% at 51.1 to 45.9, better 3-point percentage at 38.1 to 30, more rebounds at 57 to 42, less turnovers at 14 to 15, fast break points at 12 to 7, points in the paint at 56 to 50, and steals at 8 to 6. It was a complete team win on all levels. As I predicted in my Game 2 preview, I said that Golden State was due for a lopsided road loss and they did. However, I also thought the game would go under due to the Warriors not carrying their load in the scoring. That didn’t happen as these two teams kept going up and down the court even when Houston was up by 25 late in the 4th quarter.

Now, the series shifts to the Bay Area where Golden State has won 15 straight games at home in the playoffs. However, their ability to cover the spread at home has not been good. In fact, it’s downright scary and not worth taking a chance on. The Warriors are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games, 2-4 ATS in their last 6 overall games, 18-27 ATS at home for the year, 3-6 ATS on Sundays, and 10-22 ATS in the second half of the season against teams with winning records. None of that instills confidence in me.

Houston came out and attacked Stephen Curry in Game 2, which led to a great deal of success. According to ESPN, Houston targeted Curry on 23 possessions and ended up shooting 7-of-15 against Curry as the primary defender. Offensively, Curry didn’t do much better as he scored just 16 points on 7 of 19 shooting and was 1 of 8 from beyond the arc. Additionally, Curry had 2 turnovers and 3 fouls.

Curry wasn’t the only one on Golden State that stunk up the joint. Klay Thompson went 3 of 11 for only 8 points, Green had just 6 points and 6 rebounds, Iguodala had only 5 points and nobody from the Warriors bench had more than 7 points. Both the Rockets starting 5 and their bench outscored the Warriors starting 5 and bench.

With all of that said, Golden State is still in a great position. They stole home court advantage by winning Game 1 of the series and they go back home where they’ve been dominant this postseason. However, they did have a close call against the Pelicans at home in game 2 of their series as they only won by 5. The point is, the Warriors aren’t a lock to win by at least 8 points against a rejuvenated Rockets team.

In the 2nd round, the Rockets were tied with Utah at 1-1 in the series before going on the road and taking both games by an average 17 ppg. Houston also beat Minnesota on the road in the opening round by 19 points, although they did lose their only road game of the playoffs in Game 3 of that series.

I don’t see the Warriors repeating their poor performance from Game 2, where all of the starters not named Durant combined for a total of 35 points. In their Game 1 victory, the other 4 starters combined for 62 total points.

I don’t see this game being a track meet like the other two games. For the Warriors to win, they will need better shooting and better defense. For the Rockets to win, they will need better defense and to prevent the Warriors from getting clean, open shots. This should lead to a lower combined scoring.

The Under is 4-0 for the Rockets in their last 4 games on 3 days rest, 4-0 on their last 4 Sunday games, 11-1 in their last 12 games against the Pacific Division, 5-1 in their last 6 games after scoring 125 or more points in their previous game, and 10-4 in their last 14 games following an SU win.

The Under is 4-1 in the last 5 Warriors games, 6-2 in the last 8 Sunday games, 15-5-1 in their last 21 games following an ATS loss, and 8-4 in the last 12 games against the Rockets.

Pick: Under 225.5
-115

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