The Houston Rockets are one win away from reaching the NBA Finals and the offseason acquisition of Chris Paul has certainly attributed to that goal but unfortunately an injury to the veteran guard has cast concerns for the club moving forward.
For the second straight game in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets stifled the Warriors and captured a 98-94 win in Game 5 on Thursday. While Houston wanted to celebrate the win and its 3-2 lead over Golden State in the series, the late-game hamstring injury to Paul has many concerned as he limped off the court and didn’t play the final 23 seconds.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni addressed the media after the game. He said, “He’ll be evaluated tomorrow. But obviously you saw him limp off, and he’s a tough guy. So they’ll do whatever they can do. If he’s there, great, good for him. If he isn’t, we have enough guys and it’s time for somebody else to step up. We’ve got plenty of guys over there that will have some fresh legs, that’s for sure. So we’ll be all right.”
D’Antonio’s presser after the game was a positive spin but the bad news became official for the Rockets nearly a half-day later and Paul was ruled ‘out’ for Game 6.
Golden State is definitely in a rare point-spread position as this heavy of a favorite in a game that can end its season. In 2017, the team listed as the highest favorite with their backs against the wall was coincidentally the Rockets, who laid nine points to the Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals. San Antonio crushed Houston at the Toyota Center, 114-75 to advance, while cashing at +425 (Bet $100 to win $425) on the money-line.
“Rewinding back to 2016’s Western Conference Finals, the Warriors won and covered in their two home games facing elimination against the Thunder by barely covering as 7 to 7 ½ point favorites in Games 5 and 7, respectively.”
As a double-digit home favorite in the playoffs, Golden State has gone 16-1 SU since 2015. However, the Warriors have burned bettors with a 5-12 ATS mark and that includes three non-covers in matchups against the Spurs (0-1) and Pelicans (0-2) in this postseason.
Based on our closing numbers, the ‘under’ has gone 4-1 in this series and the last three results have been ‘never in doubt’ to the low side. Including those results, the ‘under’ is 17-8 in the last 25 encounters between the pair and that includes a 12-3 (80%) in playoff matchups. The total for Game 6 opened 213 ½ and is sitting at 212 as of Friday evening.
While the Paul injury is huge, bettors should keep an eye on the status of Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (knee) for Game 6. He’s sat out the last two games in this series and also missed two regular season games against the Rockets. Golden State has gone 3-1 with him in the lineup against Houston and 1-4 without him.
If necessary, Game 7 will take place on Monday at the Toyota Center from Houston.