The Golden State Warriors let their chance to take a dominant lead in this series slip through their fingers like a flopping fish in a 121-126 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets in game three.
Will the Dubs give themselves a chance to close out the series in game five or will they allow the Rockets completely back into contention?
Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.
When: Monday May 6th, 2019 at 6:30pm PST
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Line: Rockets -1.5, o/u 221.5
Injuries: Daniel House Jr. (toe) is questionable and Terrence Jones (illness) is out for the Rockets.
DeMarcus Cousins (quadricep) and Damian Jones (pectoral) are out for the Warriors.
The consistency and reliability from the Rockets’ bench, particularly in contrast to the Warriors’ bench, and Houston’s hustle on the offensive glass helped them hold serve at home.
The Rockets are led by James Harden with 30.5 points and 7.0 assists per game, Clint Capela with 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game and Chris Paul with 2.6 steals per game in the playoffs so far.
Houston is 45-42-1 against the spread (ATS), 38-46-6 to the over/under, 30-25-2 ATS after a win, 23-16-2 as a home favorite, 26-26-3 ATS with one day off, 20-31-4 to the over/under with one day off, 22-30-5 to the over/under after a win and 19-19-3 to the over/under as a home favorite this season.
The Rockets have an offensive rating of 110.9, defensive rating of 105.6, pace factor of 96.8 and are 5-3 ATS and 2-5-1 to the over/under in the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry had a true shooting percentage of .350 and an offensive rating of 69 in a game three performance that could have been a major difference in a contest that went into overtime, a performance that has led some to mock Curry’s history in the playoffs.
The internet is undefeated! https://t.co/blh0aFsKrR— Mary B (@BabersGreen) May 5, 2019
Steph Curry in the regular season when the warriors are up 15 vs Steph curry in the playoffs pic.twitter.com/pcNhvQgS3r— Boogie Bousins (@bansky) May 5, 2019
The Warriors are led by Kevin Durant with 35.6 points per game, Draymond Green with 8.8 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1.6 blocks per game and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both with 1.3 steals per game in these playoffs.
The Dubs are 39-51-1 ATS, 44-47 to the over/under, 13-14 ATS after a loss, 4-3 ATS as an away underdog, 24-28 ATS with one day of rest, 25-20 to the over/under as the away team, 22-30 to the over/under on one day of rest, 2-5 to the over/under as an away underdog and 10-17 to the over/under after a loss this season.
Golden State has an offensive rating of 119.6, defensive rating of 112.6, pace factor of 99.8, and are 4-5 ATS, 6-3 to the over/under in the playoffs so far.
While it might be easy and fun for haters to point fingers at Steph for the outcome of game three, the factor that helped the Rockets beat the Warriors among the four known to facilitate winning was offensive rebound percentage.
The Rockets had an offensive rebound percentage of 37.8, compared to the Warriors’ 15.6 in game three. Golden State had won the offensive rebound percentage battle in the first two games. Kevin Durant has been considered by some to be a basketball genius and he pretty much summed it up:
Kevin Durant: “They got 17 offensive rebounds. That’s why they won the game.” pic.twitter.com/OVFuwrxNlj— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 5, 2019
Allowing offensive rebounds could be attributed to lapses in defensive effort, and if there has been one trait that has plagued the Dubs in their losses and embarrassments this season, it has been momentary and prolonged lapses in defensive intensity.
The Warriors’ playoff defensive rating of 112.6 and effective field goal percentage allowed on defense of 0.526 are both last among all remaining playoff teams, and as many have already prognosticated, this Warriors’ defense is their Achilles Heel and could ultimately lead to their undoing if they don’t improve on it.
Since going up 14-6 in first quarter, Warriors have been outscored 27-13. Shots not falling and defense getting leaky. Rockets up 33-27 and Harden has 4 points. Eric Gordon has 11 pts on four layups and a 3.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleNBCS) May 5, 2019
This Golden Era of championship basketball has been anchored to, among other things, ego-less, defensive efficiency and, as exemplified by Andre Iguodala, the Dubs can turn it on and smother when they really put their minds to it but have yet to deliver prolonged defensive effort in these playoffs.
We expect Steve Kerr and the team to prioritize more effort on defense and not allowing as many offensive boards in game four, and with each game in this series consecutively slowing in pace, going from 95.5 in game one to 92.7 in game two and 91.8 in game three, and coming off of an overtime game on one day of rest, we see the full game total going under 221.5 points as the best bet.
Given the Warriors performing better on the road than at home this year, taken together with an expectation of a better game from Steph and an overall improvement in focus from the team after a loss, we would lean toward taking the 1.5-points with the Dubs.
If the Dubs give it their all on defense for the whole game, we anticipate them getting the victory, but one reason we feel less confident about a side in this game is questions about Curry’s health.
Yall celebrating a Steph struggle night on a snapped ankle and broken finger like it’s the birth of your firstborn? Damn... please let your mother know it’s not her fault. You just grew up this way— Andy Liu (@AndyKHLiu) May 5, 2019
Steph would never use it as an excuse but we know for certain he dislocated a finger this round and had an ankle tweaked in the first round that could still be effecting him. Even if he’s hurt or injured, we wouldn’t use that as an excuse and would still expect the Warriors to win this game if they give a hundred percent effort on defense for the entire contest.
But if lapses in Golden State’s defense rears their ugly heads in game four, then the Warriors could lose consecutive playoff games for the first time since they lost two in a row to the Rockets in 2018.
What is your best bet for Warriors at Rockets in game 4 on 5/6/19?
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