Houston (0-0) at Golden State (0-0)
When: Sunday, April 28th, 2019
Where: Oracle Arena,
Time: 3:30 ET | TV: ABC
Opening Odds: Golden State -7.5/226
For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Houston Rockets will battle the Golden State Warriors in a postseason series – the first time during the second round – which begins Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The teams met in the Western Conference Finals in 2015 and 2018, and in the first round in 2016. The Warriors won each of those playoff series, taking the first two in five games before rallying from a 3-2 series deficit to win Games 6 and 7 of the conference finals last year. The Rockets missed 27 3-pointers in a row in that Game 7 and have been itching for a rematch ever since. The Warriors got past the L.A. Clippers in six games, losing two of those games and home, while also seeing DeMarcus Cousins go down with a torn left quad muscle in the opening minutes of Game 2 of the Warriors’ first round matchup with the Clippers. The Rockets took care of the Utah Jazz in five games during the first round with superstar James Harden struggling to 37.4 percent shooting from the floor. Harden averaged 28.7 points on 41.3 percent shooting in the seven games against Golden State last spring but helped Houston finish with the second highest offensive rating in the league (114.8 points per 100 possessions) during the regular season, just one tenth of a point behind the Warriors (114.9). The Rockets took three of the four meetings during the regular season, winning the first one by 21 points. The other three matchups were much closer including an overtime win by Houston in January as Harden nailed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Rockets were without Harden when they picked up a six-point victory over Golden State in February and the Warriors got one back in their most recent matchup with Houston in March, edging the Rockets by two in a game that Kevin Durant sat out.
Harden has been in the MVP discussion all season thanks to a 32-game streak of reaching 30+ points and finishing as the top scorer in the league with 36.9 points per game. Point guard Chris Paul finished the season averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and played terrific defense, adding an average of two steals per game. The Rockets have a small, but effective frontcourt in Clint Capela and Kenneth Faried, with the former averaging 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds per contest. Faried averaged 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds, marks he had not reached since the 2015-2016 season.
All-Star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson limped out of the arena after rolling ankles in Friday’s Game 6 versus the Clippers, but are expected to go on Sunday. Durant exploded for 50 points in Game 6 on Friday and averaged 35 points on 56.7 percent shooting in the first round. Cousins will be missed as he was key in the most recent matchup between the teams and Golden State will need to find another way to overcome Houston’s speed and firepower. Curry (28.0 ppg), Durant (25.0 ppg) and Thompson (21.5 ppg) all averaged over 20 points per game versus the Rockets this season.
The Rockets have proven they can win in Oakland – even without Harden – and Golden State lost twice at home to the Clippers in the first round. Curry and Thompson have ankle issues and Cousins won’t play in this series. The Rockets are motivated to finally beat the Warriors, so I’m taking the points in Game 1.
Pick: Rockets +5.5
Rockets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Sunday games.
Rockets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Pacific.
Rockets are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Rockets are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win.
Rockets are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
Rockets are 9-3-2 ATS in their last 14 games following a ATS loss.
Rockets are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
Rockets are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 vs. Western Conference.
Rockets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Rockets are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Warriors are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Warriors are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest.
Warriors are 19-40-2 ATS in their last 61 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
Warriors are 10-22-1 ATS in their last 33 home games.
Warriors are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Southwest.
Warriors are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 Sunday games.
Warriors are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
Warriors are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win.
Under is 4-0 in Rockets last 4 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 6-0 in Rockets last 6 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 6-1 in Rockets last 7 Sunday games.
Under is 5-1 in Rockets last 6 vs. Western Conference.
Under is 8-2 in Rockets last 10 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Under is 7-2 in Rockets last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Under is 9-3 in Rockets last 12 road games.
Under is 19-7-1 in Rockets last 27 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 8-3 in Rockets last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Under is 21-8-1 in Rockets last 30 overall.
Under is 21-8 in Rockets last 29 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 18-7-1 in Rockets last 26 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 37-16 in Rockets last 53 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 13-6-1 in Rockets last 20 games following a straight up win.
Under is 8-0 in Warriors last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 7-1 in Warriors last 8 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game.
Over is 4-1 in Warriors last 5 overall.
Under is 4-1 in Warriors last 5 Sunday games.
Over is 4-1 in Warriors last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Over is 4-1 in Warriors last 5 vs. Western Conference.
Over is 4-1 in Warriors last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
Over is 4-1 in Warriors last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 10-3 in Warriors last 13 games playing on 1 days rest.
Under is 9-3 in Warriors last 12 games following a ATS win.
Under is 23-9 in Warriors last 32 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 10-4 in Warriors last 14 home games.
Under is 5-2 in Warriors last 7 vs. NBA Southwest.
Under is 7-3 in Warriors last 10 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Golden State.
Under is 16-5 in the last 21 meetings.
Road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.