The Golden State Warriors are one win away from another trip to the Western Conference finals. Golden State has a ton of experience in closing out teams and series, but beating the Houston Rockets for a fourth time won’t be an easy task on Friday night. This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals that was won by the Warriors in seven games. Houston led that series by a count of 3-2 before the Warriors were able to win the final two games. The Rockets will try to flip the script on the Warriors in Games 6 and 7 this season.
These are two of the best offensive teams in the NBA this season, but defense has been the key for most of this series. All five of the games so far in this series have been within six points when the final buzzer sounded, and they have all been extremely competitive. A road team has yet to pull off a victory in the first five games, and that seems to bode well for the Houston Rockets in Game 6. There is no love lost between these two Western Conference rivals, and this should be a terrific game. Houston is a -7.5 point favorite over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6.
Warriors Will Be Playing Without Durant
If the Golden State Warriors are going to eliminate the Rockets in Game 6, then they are going to have to do it without Kevin Durant. Durant suffered a calf strain in the Game 5 victory and will be out for a Game 7 as well if there was one to be played. This is a huge blow to the Golden State Warriors as Durant was averaging 34.2 points per game so far in the postseason. Durant is a former Finals MVP, and his loss will definitely be felt against the Rockets.
The Warriors relied on their depth and other All-Stars to still win Game 5 after Durant went down with an injury. Golden State scored 32 points in the fourth quarter of Game 5, and they still have plenty of talent on the court. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combined for 52 points in the Game 5 win, and they will both get a ton of shots up on Friday night. Defending James Harden is also a huge key again for the Warriors, and they were terrific at this in their Game 5 win.
Rockets Need Harden to Dominate Game 6
James Harden has been putting up eye-popping numbers all season long but was really quiet late in the Game 5 loss. Harden finished with 31 points in the last game but took just 16 field goal attempts. The reigning MVP is averaging 31 points per contest in the playoffs and will be the best player on the floor with Durant sitting this one out. Houston is going to rely on their best player to lead them, and odds are that he will put on a show in Game 5.
Center Clint Capela had just six points in 26 minutes in the Game 5 loss, and the Rockets got just 19 points from their bench. Iman Shumpert did pour in 11 points off the bench, but Austin Rivers managed to chip in with two. Houston knows that it can play with the Warriors, but they are going to need some contributions from their role players.
Rockets Force Epic Game 7
Most people thought that this series would last seven games, and that looks like what is about to happen. Golden State would love to close out this game on Friday night, but the Rockets aren’t going to let that happen. Look for the Warriors to struggle without Durant, and the Rockets get plenty of offense to extend this series. Bet the Houston Rockets -7.5 over the Golden State Warriors.