The Golden State Warriors visit the Houston Rockets on Monday Night to kick off the Western Conference finals. Game 1 starts at 8:00 pm central. The Warriors dispatched the New Orleans Pelicans 4 games to 1 in round 2, and did the same to the San Antonio Spurs to begin their playoffs. Meanwhile, Houston took down the Utah Jazz 4 games to 1 in their second round. They matched Golden State game for game as they took down the Minnesota Timberwolves in round 1 4-1 also. Houston comes into game 1 as the favorite: at -1.5.
Golden State Warriors
The same players have been performing well for Golden State all season long. These names didn’t change in the postseason. Kevin Durant, unsurprisingly, has been leading the way with 28 points per game. Durant has also been collecting an important 8 rebounds every contest, an important start coming out of his spot in the lineup. Steph Curry has also been getting in done for Golden State, coming up with 24.5 points per game. Curry has been shooting an electric 47.8% from the field, including 44.1% from deep.
Guard Klay Thompson rounds out the major scorers for Golden State, averaging 21.2 points per game. Draymond Green has been the main ball distributor, racking up 9 assists per contest. Golden State’s guards will have to share the ball more in order to beat Houston.
Looking at the stat sheet, it’s no surprise to see the man who has led Houston all year long as leading them through the playoffs. James Harden is averaging 30.4 points per game thus far in the playoffs. Harden has also been passing the ball effectively, racking up 8.8 assists per game. It’s also no surprise to see Chris Paul putting up big numbers. On the 8th, Paul scored 41 points and dished out 10 assists.
One man who has been making a big difference for the Houston Rockets is Clint Capela. The Rocket center is blocking 2.8 shots per game in the postseason. He is also averaging a double-double, with 14.4 points per game and 12.2 rebounds per game. I see Capela being the X factor for Houston in this game.
Rockets beat Warriors
The guards for both of these teams have proven that that can play. The scoring numbers on both sides are impressive. However, when you consider the frontcourts, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee have combined for 10 points per game. Also, they haven’t been protecting the room well, with McGee averaging under a block per game and Pachulia not having blocked a shot all postseason. Meanwhile, Capela had been turning heads with his aforementioned stats. I’ve never been a huge fan of the way James Harden plays the game, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. However, what Houston has been doing clearly works. It would be hard to side with anyone else. Take the Rockets at -1.5.
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