Houston Rockets Will Beat Golden State Warriors In Western Conference Finals
The Rockets Will Upset The Warriors In The WCF
May 18, 2015
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
We have the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Everybody and their brother has the Warriors winning this series, and most don’t even expect it to be a contest. The odds back up that theory as well, as you can currently get the Rockets +600 to win the series and have to pay 800 dollars to make 100 if you’re backing the Warriors.
Believe it or not, but I really like the Rockets to win this series.
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Forget The Sweep
You’ve probably heard that the Rockets were swept by the Warriors in the regular season. What people aren’t telling you is that Dwight Howard missed two and a half of those games, Josh Smith missed two of those games, Terrence Jones missed all of them and a bunch of other Houston role players were in and out of the lineup. Congrats. Saying the Warriors swept a banged up Rockets team is like the Pittsburgh Steelers bragging they beat the New England Patriots with a suspended Tom Brady.
The Warriors have yet to face this Rockets’ team the way it currently stands, and I think having playoff Dwight makes a world of difference.
I put zero stock into the regular season sweep given the circumstances.
Tempo Fits The Rockets
Now that the Rockets are somewhat healthy, we have a tempo that fits Houston’s style. The Warriors want to run, run some more and shoot threes. That’s pretty much what the Rockets want to do as well. In fact, Houston led the league with 2,680 three-point shot attempts this season. Like styles make fights, they also make basketball series’ and can make the underdog comfortable if it favors them.
Unlike Memphis or New Orleans, Houston won’t be worried about the Warriors looking to score 100 points and play at a fast pace because the Rockets look to do the same thing. With the Warriors being a better defensive team, I could see this series being similar to what Houston had with the Dallas Mavericks. And we all know how that series turned out.
Individual Matchups Give Rockets Fight
If I’m Kevin McHale, I’m putting Trevor Ariza on Klay Thompson, Josh Smith on Draymond Green, James Harden on Harrison Barnes, Dwight Howard on Andrew Bogut and any point guard (I’ll address this later) on Steph Curry. I like those individual matchups simply because the Rockets have athleticism and length to match up well with the Warriors. Even if the Rockets switch up a couple of those matchups and put Ariza on Curry, it doesn’t change the fact the Rockets have extreme length and will contest most shots.
See, unlike the Grizzlies, the Rockets have size AND athleticism. Memphis has size but was extremely slow, which was eventually their downfall on the defensive end along with Tony Allen not being healthy. The Rockets are long, quick and big, which is why they were an above-average defensive team during the regular season.
The Warriors are an elite shooting team but the Rockets are going to make them work for each outside shot.
Has anybody been watching Dwight during these playoffs?
He only averaged 14 rebounds and 17.6 points per game against the Clippers, a team that has two of the best big men in the NBA. Dwight looks focused, hungry and has been head and shoulders one of the best players in this year’s playoffs.
Who is going to keep him under control?
Bogut? An undersized Green? A finesse player such as David Lee?
Don’t make me laugh.
Bottom line is the Warriors don’t have an answer for Dwight, which is scary and makes me believe he can win a couple of games by himself in this series like he did in his Orlando days.
Dwight Howard is one of the biggest reasons I’m picking the Rockets to win this series, especially considering he didn’t play much at all against the Warriors this season.
Patrick Beverley Factor
Patrick Beverley gets his cast taken off on the 18th. He said he would play as soon as the cast is removed and pain won’t be an issue. If that’s true, that makes me even more confident in this pick, as Beverley is one of the better on-ball defenders in the league and would give Houston a much upgrade in guarding the league’s MVP. Watch out for updates on this nugget.
Oh, Yeah, One More Thing
As if making the Finals wasn’t enough for James Harden, he’ll also have added motivation facing Stephen Curry, the guy who won the MVP over him this season. Harden hasn’t talked about it much, but he’s upset and really thinks the award was his considering he carried the Rockets to the second seed in the West despite his team constantly being injured.
Motivation shouldn’t really factor into bets much, but I expect to see The Beard in attack mode and looking to make a statement as he makes his second Finals appearance of his career in the process.