(1) GSW vs (8) HOU SERIES PREVIEW:
Opening Game: Saturday, April 16 at 3:30 PM
Series Price: GSW -9000; HOU +2000
Game One Spread: GSW -13.5
Game One Total: 225
Betting odds c/o Bookmaker
The Golden State Warriors will begin its historic quest to cap a 73-win season with a second-straight NBA Championship on Saturday afternoon on ABC. Stephen Curry and the Warriors are beyond heavy favorites against a dysfunctional Houston Rockets team that seemed so formidable just a season ago.
The Rockets finished the season 41-41 and closed the regular season with three straight victories to sneak into the No. 8 seed. As to whether that figured to be much more than a quick bounce from Golden State may be a different matter. The Rockets are a team likely on the verge of implosion, notwithstanding that something was salvaged in some senses with its postseason bid. Dwight Howard will be a free agent this summer, and the Rockets really do not have much of a core around James Harden to speak of.
The Rockets are a team likely on the verge of implosion, notwithstanding that something was salvaged in some senses with its postseason bid.
Harden averaged 29 points, six rebounds and seven assists per game in 38 minutes a night this year, while also coming up with 1.7 steals per game. He is a clear franchise player, but it remains unclear what Rockets GM Daryl Morey can do to surround him with the proper pieces. Dwight Howard never really clicked that well with Harden, and the Rockets are short of supporting talents.
Trevor Ariza is consistent and Patrick Beverley is a defensive pest, but really what can be said of this Rockets club? Is there any way anyone can imagine Harden battling it out on his own against the Warriors team and having much success?
For the Warriors, this really will just be a tune up. Curry just completed the league’s first 400-three season, and his teammate Klay Thompson came within striking distance of his Curry’s NBA record 280 threes last season (Thompson finished with 276). The “Splash Brothers” are exhibit 1A and 1B for Golden State, but one can hardly ignore the all-around brilliance of forward Draymond Green either.
Green averaged 14 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game and finished with 15 triple-doubles on the year. He signed a max-deal last summer and is part of Golden State’s tight nucleus, with some of the revolving parts likely to move this summer. The Warriors are unlikely to lose a game in this series. Harden has not typically fared well in the postseason given the sheer reliance of his on the whistle. The Warriors will have scarcely any trouble mitigating Harden and Houston has no one to step up and relieve him.
The Warriors will likely give the second unit a lot of run in this one, but this is a team with plenty of depth. The Warriors can rely on Andre Iguodala and a host of veterans off the bench. Some of these Warriors may be primed for bigger roles elsewhere, but given the current construction of this roster there is a chance for Steve Kerr to score some valuable rest for his key cogs. The Dubs will want to make a statement of course, but the Rockets team is so ill fitted for this postseason that it is really sort of knocking off a lame duck opponent. The Warriors +9000 series price odds certainly attest to this reality. Golden State will not encounter its first real test until likely the Conference Finals at earliest when it will encounter the San Antonio Spurs.
Bottom Line: Warriors Sweep it.