Kudos to you if you saw Houston’s incredibly easy victory in San Antonio coming on Monday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series because I surely didn’t. The Rockets demolished the Spurs by 26 points in Game 1 in San Antonio. It was quite an embarrassing match for the Spurs, but they could have a chance to redeem themselves at home on Wednesday. Oddsmakers still believe in the Spurs are they are favored in the NBA odds to even the series on Wednesday night, but anything can happen.
Houston at San Antonio NBA Playoffs Odds & Game 2 Preview
Why Bet On Houston?
The Rockets crushed the Spurs 126-99 on Monday. James Harden led the Rockets with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting. One of San Antonio’s top priorities is to limit Harden’s free throw attempts after he averaged 14.6 FTAs in Round 1, but that’s all the Spurs got right — he got to the line just five times tonight. However, he was still dominant and pick-and- rolled the Spurs to death, dishing out a playoff career-high 14 assists with four steals and three triples in 31 minutes. Harden didn’t play down the stretch with the game all but over by the third quarter.
Trevor Ariza scored 23 points on 7-of- 14 shooting. Ariza struggled in the previous round with 6.2 points per game on 34.4 percent shooting, but snapped out of his funk in a big way. He grabbed four rebounds with two assists, two steals and five triples, helping the Rockets set a new franchise record with 22 3-pointers made on 50 attempts. Eric Gordon added 11 points and three triples off the bench, Ryan Anderson had 14 points and four triples and Lou Williams had 13 points and a pair of 3-pointers.
Clint Capela feasted against the Spurs by scoring 20 points with 13 rebounds, one assist and two blocks in 25 minutes. Capela punished David Lee and LaMarcus Aldridge in the paint, finishing 8-of- 10 from the field on his way to a new playoff career-high. After averaging just 7.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in the previous round against OKC, Capela could be an X-factor for Houston in this series.
Near the end of the third quarter, San Antonio’s Dewayne Dedmon went face-to- face with Harden, and the two exchanged words. Houston center Nene Hilario came to his teammate’s defense and grabbed the neck area of Dedmon in an attempt to push him away. Nene was ejected for his actions, and Dedmon and Harden each received a technical. Nene shouldn’t be facing any suspension for Game 2.
Why Bet On San Antonio?
I find it hard to believe that the Spurs won’t play night-and- day better in Game 2. The Rockets knocked down 22 of 50 shots from 3-point range, setting NBA postseason records for the most 3s attempted and made against the Spurs. The Spurs’ starters combined to connect on 13 of 42 shots, as the team made just 36.9 percent overall after taking 84 shots. San Antonio trailed by 11 at the end of the first quarter. From there, Houston opened up a 24-8 run, going up 27 points.
San Antonio shot 5-of- 23 in the second quarter, including 1-of- 8 from deep. Houston, meanwhile, made 42.9 percent from long range, as it outscored the Spurs 35-16 in the quarter. Houston led 69-39 lead in the first half, the Spurs’ largest halftime deficit under Gregg Popovich.
“Sure, we competed. But I don’t think we executed in a very wise manner,” Popovich said. “We disobeyed a lot of basic basketball rules that they could take advantage of. If we’re going to shoot quickly and shoot poorly, it’s going to be a fast-break deal all night long, and they were better at that than we are. So we’ve got to play a lot smarter than what we saw (Monday).&”
Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points on 5-of- 14 shooting. Leonard played 32 minutes, but didn’t touch the floor in the fourth quarter with the score getting out of hand. He wasn't his usual efficient self from the field, though he did hit all eight of his free throws with 11 rebounds and six assists.
Aldridge failed to show up in Game 1 by scoring a playoff career-low four points with six rebounds, one assist and one steal. He had a minus-36 rating in 25 minutes. Aldridge finished just 2-of- 7 from the field, but his defense was even worse. The Spurs are already starting one defensive liability in David Lee, so they will need Aldridge to bounce back in a big way in Game 2. Overall, the Spurs shot just 37 percent on the night, including 9 of 29 on threes.
Houston at San Antonio NBA Playoffs Pick: San Antonio Spurs
I actually think San Antonio will win Game 2, but if you want to give me Houston and 5.5 points I’m not turning that down.