Will Warriors' supporting cast stifle Rockets?
Golden State has leaned on Klay Thompson and Draymond Green before, but never quite like this.
With Stephen Curry out of commission for at least two weeks, coach Steve Kerr needs his two other All-Stars to take center stage and close out the Rockets. The two teams meet in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals tonight, with a 10:30 p.m. tip at Oracle Arena. Oddsmakers at online sports book BetDSI like the Warriors as 9-point favorites to eliminate the visitors.
Houston fought gallantly in Game 3 last Thursday, clinching a 97-96 nail-biter. That momentum failed to carry into the weekend. Despite Curry’s lengthy absence (he didn’t return after halftime), J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad absorbed a 121-94 defeat and fell into a 1-3 series hole.
All the while, the Rockets continue to waste center Dwight Howard’s rock-solid play in the post. The center has double-doubles in all four contests with averages of 14.5 points and 12.3 boards. He’s even shooting 65.7 percent from the field. Contrast that with James Harden’s rate of 37.7, and it seems fairly obvious as to what H-Town’s offensive m.o. should be.
For Golden State, nothing fundamentally changes on account of the reigning MVP’s injury. Individuals such as Thompson and Green simply have to do more. Thompson scored 23 points on Sunday, while Green added 18 and eight rebounds. Andre Iguadola chipped in a surprising 22, too.
The Warriors are already the first team to win on the road in the series. Now, the setting comes back to where they’re at their most lethal. The Rockets just can’t be trusted to play good enough D – even against a wounded Golden State crew.
WEDNESDAY NBA FREE PICK: ROCKETS/WARRIORS UNDER 213.5 POINTS