Will Warriors' Curry sit vs. Rockets?
The Warriors’ first playoff victory didn’t unfold in the same spellbinding way that marked their 73-win regular season. In fact, the Rockets specifically attempted to ramp up the physicality and upset the top seed’s free-flowing sensibilities.
Stephen Curry definitely noticed – and felt – the difference. After being forced out of Saturday’s 104-78 victory with a right ankle injury, Golden State’s leading scorer remains questionable for tonight’s follow-up at 10:30 p.m. ET. Oddsmakers at online sports book BetDSI nonetheless prefer Steve Kerr’s club as a 13-point favorite in Game 2.
Casual fans should probably familiarize themselves with Shaun Livingston, Curry’s would-be replacement in the starting lineup. The 10th-year guard averaged 6.3 points and 3.0 assists in 78 games this season. He made three field goals in 25 minutes of over the weekend.
The Warriors have dealt with such a predicament before. Back on Dec. 31, Golden State went on the road – without Curry – and defeated Houston by four. Klay Thompson erupted for 38 points in that affair, while Draymond Green added 16 assists.
Regardless of Curry’s health status, the Rockets must figure out how to prevent the host team from going completely ballistic in the early going. Houston trailed 33-15 following one quarter of the opener and was down 27 at intermission. James Harden can’t afford another 7-of-19 shooting performance, either.
We like the fact that Dwight Howard and Clint Capela combined for 33 rebounds in an otherwise dispiriting result for H-Town. Perhaps a strong perimeter showing from Harden opens up additional room on the floor for the two bigs, too. If we’re being frank, though, everything boils down to Curry’s availability. He already missed this morning’s shootaround, so perhaps J.B. Bickerstaff’s troops will receive at least a fighting chance at Oracle Arena.
MONDAY NBA FREE PICK: ROCKETS/WARRIORS OVER 218 POINTS