HOUSTON ROCKETS (64-30) at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (75-17)

HOUSTON ROCKETS (64-30) at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (75-17)

NBA Playoffs
Western Conference - Finals
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:05 p.m. ET
Line: Golden State -10.0, Total: 219.5




2017-05-19

The Rockets look to carry the magic from last round into this Game 1 meeting with the Warriors at Oracle Arena Tuesday.



Houston trailed 3-1 in its series with the Los Angeles Clippers and ended up fighting its way back into it to win Game 7 113-100 as 2.5-point underdogs at the Toyota Center. The Warriors didnt face quite as big of a deficit but they were down 2-1 against the Grizzlies and ended up winning the next three games. The Warriors were dominant in their Game 6 win at Memphis, defeating the Grizzlies 108-95 as a 5-point favorite. They hit 50.6percent of their shots and held Memphis to just 37.4percent shooting. Both teams enter this series having won-and-covered in their past three games. The Warriors, however, won both SU and ATS in their four meetings with the Rockets this season. They are, however, just 3-3 both SU and ATS over the past three seasons when facing Houston at Oracle Arena. The Rockets are 8-0 ATS on Tuesday nights this season and 24-10 ATS after a win by 10 points or more as well. The Warriors, meanwhile, are 20-7 ATS after two straight wins by 10 points or more this season. Houston remains without SG K.J. McDaniels (Elbow), PF Donatas Motiejunas (Back) and PG Patrick Beverley (Wrist). Golden State is likely to be without PF Marreese Speights (Calf) in Game 1 and C Ognjen Kuzmic (Ankle) is out for the year.



The Rockets seemed like they were down for the count in their series with the Clippers, but they came back and showed a lot of guts in doing so. SG James Harden (26.7 PPG, 8.0 APG, 4.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) was outstanding in Game 7, finishing with 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals in 43 minutes of action. He struggled against the Warriors in the regular season though, averaging 25.3 PPG on a lousy 40.5percent shooting from the field. Hell need to be efficient in this series and will likely need to put his team on his back if it is going to advance. C Dwight Howard (17.2 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 2.5 BPG in playoffs) has looked like his old self throughout the playoffs and averaged 18.7 PPG and 17.0 RPG in the final three games last series. Hell need to control the paint against the Warriors in this one. PF Josh Smith (12.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG in playoffs) provided a huge spark to the Rockets when he was introduced to the starting lineup in Game 5 last series. He averaged 14.3 PPG as a starter and played well on both sides of the ball. His matchup with Draymond Green will come a long way in determining who wins this series. SF Trevor Ariza (13.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs) will be the x-factor for Houston. He is one of the teams best outside shooters and will be counted on to defend Stephen Curry at times in this series.



The Warriors needed PG Stephen Curry (28.2 PPG, 6.8 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG in playoffs) to find his game when the team went down 2-1 last round and he did just that. Curry was huge for the Warriors in the final three games of the series, scoring 32+ points in two of those games. He was 18-for-35 from the outside in those contests and will need to keep shooting well from behind the arc. Houston is weak at the point guard position and he could really take over this series. SG Klay Thompson (20.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.8 APG in playoffs) will be crucial in this series. He averaged 21.5 PPG, 4.3 APG, 4.0 RPG against Houston during the regular season and 1.8 BPG and 1.5 SPG on the defensive end as well. Hell need to be on his game defensively against James Harden in order for this team to advance. PF Draymond Green (13.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2.1 SPG in playoffs) is going to need to be tough in this series. The Rockets have a lot of talent at their forward positions and Green will need to be able to defend both outside and inside in this series. Hes also going to need to knock down some outside shots in order to keep Houston honest defensively. C Andrew Bogut (5.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG in playoffs) has not been much of a factor offensively in these playoffs, but he has played well on defense and that is why he is on this team. Hell need to hold his own against Dwight Howard or it will be a long series for the Warriors.


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