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2015 NBA Betting – Picks For Games On Thursday, May 21

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/20/2015 9:49:05 PM

The Golden State Warriors escaped the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Does this mean Houston has found a successful way to play against Golden State, or will Game 2 be a more accurate reflection of how this series is going to go?

Game 2, Western Conference Finals:

Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors – Thursday, May 21

When this series began, a lot of people were expecting Golden State to have a relatively easy time against Houston. The Warriors won 11 more games during the regular season, but they also had three full days of rest for Game 1, while Houston had just one day of rest, and needed to spend that off day traveling from home to Oakland for the start of this series. The Warriors looked very impressive in finishing off Memphis on Friday in Game 6 of that second-round series. Memphis would probably be regarded as a slightly better team than Houston, given that the Grizzlies and Rockets were separated by under three games in the standings, and Memphis put a scare into Golden State in the last round. It was supposed to mean that Golden State was going to cruise in Game 1 of this series.

That did not happen.

Houston was by far the better team after one and a half quarters. The Rockets gained a 47-33 lead and were constantly getting into the paint. Houston scored most of its first quarter points in the painted area and kept attacking the basket. Golden State defenders did not stop driving lanes. The Warriors were slow to react on drives, switches, screens, and other basic basketball maneuvers. They allowed Houston’s guards to get to the rim, and they did not deter many shots. The Rockets were able to get around every obstacle – not that the Warriors put up much resistance to begin with.

Houston enjoyed a lot of flow on offense in this game. James Harden was 11 of 20 and scored 21 points in the second half. Trevor Ariza was 7 of 10 from the field and scored 20 points thanks to four made three-pointers. Josh Smith scored 17 points and collected five assists with three blocked shots, doing a little bit of everything for Houston. The Rockets pressured Golden State and forced the Warriors to rally.

Golden State didn’t look great, but the Warriors were good enough that, when the chips were down in the second quarter, they bounced back. Shaun Livingston was massive for the Warriors in Game 1, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds. He played well on a night when Klay Thompson was just 6 of 18 overall and 1 of 7 on three-pointers. With Andrew Bogut in foul trouble, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes came up with multiple buckets in the fourth quarter to ensure that the Warriors came back, built a small lead, and hung onto it.

In Game 2, expect the Warriors to be less sluggish and more dialed in. Houston needs to show that it can bother Golden State again before being given more of a chance to play this series close.

NBA Betting Pick: Golden State

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