Friday’s Results: 1-1
All Time Results: 77-85-2, -3.9 Units
Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets 1st Quarter Under 56 – 1 Unit
Golden State Warriors -2 vs. Houston Rockets 1st Quarter – 1 Unit
Each game of the Warriors/Rockets series has had the same pattern. The Hampton 5 of GSW hold the Rockets explosive power in check to start the game. They employ efficient offense sets and strong team rebounding to limit Houston in transition. They use intelligent defensive preparation to force Harden and Paul into tough shots. Each 1st quarter has gone under the total and in favor of the Warriors. For the series, the teams are averaging only 50 points per 1st quarter combined.
GSW/HOU 1st quarter Totals
Game 1, 47 – GSW by 9
Game 2, 49 – GSW by 9
Game 3, 51 – GSW by 1
Game 4, 53 – GSW by 1
By the 2nd quarter, the Warriors move onto using their bench. Their offense becomes less efficient and more predictable. The Rockets breakout and get hot from 3. The Rockets have gone 3-0-1 SU in the 2nd quarter, and the Over has gone 4-0.
GSW/HOU 2nd quarter Totals
Game 1 63 – Hou by 9
Game 2 58 – tie
Game 3 56 – Hou by 10
Game 4 62 – Hou by 10
In their first series, GSW outscored the Clippers in the first quarter of games following losses by a combined 21 points.
The Warriors know how vulnerable they are, especially the moment one of their stars has to sit. I expect the Warriors to play their best basketball of the season to start this game. Whether or not they can sustain a good start is much less clear to me.
Klay Thompson First Basket of the Game +600 (FanDuel) – 1 Unit
Following two poor and foul-prone starts in the first two games of the series, Steph Curry has hit the first basket for the Warriors in each of the past two games. Although they work year round on precision, basketball players aren’t robots and adrenaline cannot be simulated. Players going through rough stretches sometimes have to knock one or two in early so that they trust their calibration for the rest of game. Thompson clearly has had a series far below his standards. The trend was exacerbated in the 2nd half of Game 4 when he went 1 for 7 from the field, including 0-2 in the 4th quarter. I think Golden State looks for Thompson early. If they can get him going they will win the series. If not, they could easily lose.
Boston Celtics +350 @ Milwaukee Bucks – 1 Unit
By the second quarter of Game 4 in Boston – with the score still tied – the TD Garden crowd had all but died. You could hear a pin drop. The feeling about the team in the city is at best mixed. My suspicion is that many rather see Boston icon, Dr. Bill Simmons be right than for the team to succeed. Crazy, I know. The Boston faithful were rocking for Isaiah Thomas’s Celtics even when they were losing to the 8th seeded Bulls in 2017. Kyrie Irving is a different type of brother – and not the cup of tea of many in the region. There won’t be a shortage of drivers for the man to get to the airport after the season.
I think the Celtics are much higher on Kyrie and themselves than their so called fans. His 11 teammates might have more respect for Kyrie than the other 2 million Bostonian’s combined. They see him work everyday. They see him make the right play. Losing to this #1-seeded Bucks team is no shame. Losing in 5 definitely is.
I look for the Celts to play with pride tonight, and with abandon. They have nothing to lose at this point. I also think they’ll get a whistle more reminiscent of Game 1 than in the past two games. The Giannis/Shaq comparisons are apt, as different as they are. A foul can be called every time on them or never – and neither would be 100% right or 100% wrong. If Horford & Co. can effectively wall-off Antetokounmpo from the rim, the rest of the Bucks offense might get flustered fast.