NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinal Preview and Betting Tips

OM Staff

Sunday, April 28, 2019 7:11 AM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 28, 2019 7:11 AM UTC

The most anticipated matchup of the playoffs has arrived. Can Houston avenge their loss from last year or is the Warriors victory inevitable? 

<p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2><b>Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors</b></h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>The Golden State Warriors try for their third championship in a row and now the team that gave them their toughest test last year stands in their way. The Rockets held a 3-2 lead last year and were ahead halftime of Games 6 and 7 only to fall short to the Warriors, who some have called the greatest collection of talent of all time. Chris Paul had a hamstring injury that kept him out of the final 2 games last year, but appears to be healthy this year. Even so, if it wasn't for an astounding 27 straight misses from 3, the Rockets would have become the Western Conference champions last year, and our NBA narrative would be quite different. But as it stands, those shots missed and the Warriors are deemed unstoppable and their championship inevitable. The Houston Rockets pose the biggest threat to their reign at the top.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Counting down the 24 hours until game 1 vs Golden State with &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@Tissot&lt;/a&gt;! &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;April 27, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>James Harden has improved from his MVP season last year and averaged 36.1 ppg this year. His step back 3 is lethal, and he uses the threat of it to get in the lane where he draws fouls, makes layups, and throws lobs to Clint Capela. The Rockets have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Warriors, and can defend well enough to pose problems for the defending champs. Their GM Daryl Morey has stated that he built this team with the specific intention of beating the Warriors and it shows. The Warriors prefer a movement based motion offense while the Rockets attack your weaknesses with isolations. They have two very different ways to achieve the same goal, score often and quickly.</p><p>The Warriors are a scoring dynamo led by Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Durant is almost impossible to defend one on one as he is 7 ft and has a great jump shot. Steph is a whirlwind, often times running thru 2 screens and his quick release makes him very hard to stop. Supported by the sharpshooting Klay Thompson and defensive stalwart Draymond Green, they can beat you many ways. Steve Kerr recently said "We play fast and we defend" which very simply states what the Warriors do best.</p><p>The Rockets will use isolations to get the matchups they want, usually Harden against a big. Chris Paul has been getting to his spots to either hit midrange jumpers or find an open teammate. Eric Gordon can create his own shot and Clint Capela can defend the rim, and is a fantastic counterpart to Harden in the pick and roll. The Warriors will use their motion sets to find open shooters, and if that doesn't work they can give it to Durant who can almost always create a good look. Their major weakness is depth but in the playoffs with the shortened rotations, it doesn't hinder them as much. Their other weakness is supposed motivation, but I think that is more of the media expectation that they should win every game. Anytime they lose, it is supposedly because they weren't focused or didn't try hard. I don't buy into this narrative as much as others, as I believe the NBA is filled with talented squads who can win when they play their best. Motivation shouldn't be an issue as this series has been anticipated since the final horn of last years game 7. The winner of this series should win the title this year as most believe these are the best two teams in the NBA. It should be a fantastic series full of offensive explosions, with plenty of chippiness and drama to go along with the world class basketball.</p><p><a href=";a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a&amp;f=1" target="_blank" title="NBA Betting Odds"><b>Betting Tip: Warriors -1.5 games @ 1.75 at Unibet</b></a></p>
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