The Golden State Warriors are beatable! The Houston Rockets showed that with a dominant performance in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Now the series shifts to Oakland on Sunday tied 1-1 and the Dubs are NBA lines favorites on their home court.
2018 Western Conference Finals Game 3 Preview & NBA Lines
When: Sunday, 8 PM ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland
Stream: NBA League Pass
Radio: 790 AM (Houston) / 95.7 FM (Golden State)
NBA Lines: Warriors -7 (226.5)
Why Bet on Houston’s NBA Lines?
After getting thumped 119-106 in Game 1, Houston looked like a different team in its 127-105 rout of the Dubs on Wednesday – it’s silly, by the way, these teams don’t play again until Sunday. The NBA-best Rockets led by as many as 29 points in the second half, the largest deficit Golden State has faced this postseason.
James Harden had 27 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the win. Harden’s 27 points tied Eric Gordon for the team-high, and he got some much-needed help from his teammates. Five Rockets scored in double digits, and the team knocked down 16 triples after making 13 in Game 1. Harden also came up big on the glass, and his 10 boards were a postseason high.
Gordon scored his 27 points while shooting 6-of-9 from three and had three rebounds and two assists. This was a scoring high for Gordon in these playoffs and the most he’s scored since March 27 against the Bulls. He shot well, going 8-of-15 from the field and 5-of-5 from the charity stripe.
P.J. Tucker scored 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field with seven rebounds, four assists and a steal. That was the big surprise. Tucker was 5-of-6 from deep on his way to not only a Rockets career high but also a career postseason high 22 points. All of his points came from inside the paint or from knocking down a corner three. Tucker had just one point in 34 minutes in Game 1.
Trevor Ariza scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and had four rebounds, six assists and two steals in Game 2. Ariza’s 19 points are his scoring high for these playoffs and his six assists are the most he’d had all season. It was Ariza’s best shooting performance since May 7, 2017, when he also went 7-of-9. He was turnover-free too, he’s now logged 347 minutes this postseason with only had three turnovers. Ariza wasn’t a big factor in Game 1 due to foul trouble.
All told, Ariza, Tucker and Gordon combined for 68 points after combining for just 24 in Game 1. Houston’s win came at the hands of a sloppy performance from the Warriors, who tallied just nine turnovers in Game 1 but recorded five in Wednesday’s first five minutes. The Warriors notched 10 turnovers in the first half and finished with 15, which led to as many Houston points.
Why Bet on Golden State’s NBA Lines?
How often do you see the Warriors play back-to-back poor games? Almost never. Game 2 was the 4th-worst playoff loss for the Warriors under Steve Kerr. It should be noted that Golden State won the next game after 4 of their 5 worst losses under Kerr.
Kevin Durant outscored the other four Warriors starters 38-35 in Game 2 vs the Rockets. Has scored 37 or more points in 3 of the last 4 games (averaging 34.3 points per game in that span). Durant is ranked 4th all-time in scoring average (28.84 ppg) in NBA playoff history. He has scored 20 or more points in 12 straight playoff games in this year’s playoffs and has a 19-playoff game 20-point streak dating back to Game 3 of last year’s Western Conference Finals series vs. San Antonio. Durant’s 19-game 20-point playoff streak is the longest for the Warriors franchise in the last 50 years.
Stephen Curry finished 1-for-8 on three-pointers after going 1-for-5 in Game 1. It’s the 1st time in his career he’s made 1 or fewer 3-pointers in consecutive playoff games. He only had one game all season in which he only made one 3-pointer. He doesn’t look healthy.
“Obviously it wasn’t Steph’s best night,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I’m not worried about Steph … He’s feeling good … He’s getting better.”
On the defensive end, the Rockets targeted Curry as the primary defender 23 times, a postseason high, trying to capitalize on Curry’s defensive weaknesses. He was the primary defender on 20 plays in Game 1. Curry defended 15 isolation plays in Game 1 and 13 in Game 2. Both were more than he had defended in the past four seasons, regular season and playoffs.
In the series, James Harden and Chris Paul are consistently calling for screens from the teammate Curry is guarding to get Curry to switch onto them. Once Curry switches to the primary ball handler, the Rockets attempt to penetrate to the basket. Houston shot 7-of-15 from the field on those 23 possessions Curry was the primary defender.
“We were trying to be too cute with our [defensive] exchanges and our switches and all that stuff instead of just manning up and playing one-on-one defense,” Curry said.
Since the 2015 NBA Playoffs, this is the 4th time the Warriors are in a series tied at 1-1, the last time was in the 2016 Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City. In the 3 times the series was tied at 1-1, the Warriors lost Game 3 but went on to win the series (2016 WCF vs. Oklahoma City, 2015 NBA Finals vs. Cleveland and 2015 Western Conference Semifinals vs. Memphis).
Latest NBA Betting Trends
- Houston is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games
- Houston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 15 of Houston’s last 23 games
- Golden State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
- Golden State is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Golden State’s last 5 games
Expert NBA Betting Prediction
The Warriors have won five of their last six Game 3s in the playoffs and will make it six of seven. However, take the points in the NBA lines.