What a tremendous boost for the Houston Rockets, and one incredible downer for the Golden State Warriors, resulting from Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals. If there was anything that signaled to the defending world champs that this was a different Houston team than they have faced in the recent past, this was it. When you are on your own home floor and get off to a 12-0 lead, but then, when a decisive finish is required, you lose a 12-point advantage in the fourth quarter, that is a huge psychological setback. Of course, when you have won two world championships in the last three seasons, you obviously have learned to deal with psychological setbacks, so this is pretty much what sets the stage for Thursday’s Game 5 in this series, which begins at 9:05 PM ET at the Toyota Center in Houston. Keep in mind that if you are a VietBet customer, you can get reduced juice on this contest before it starts, and then place wagers after it begins, using the software that is available through Live Betting Ultra.
2018 NBA Playoff Odds – Western Conference Finals Game 5 Odds
Western Conference Finals Game 5 Odds are up at VietBet and Houston is the ever-so-slight favorite:
Houston Rockets -1
Golden State Warriors +1
Over 219 points -110
Under 219 points -110
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Western Conference Finals Game 5 Odds: CJ’s Take – Rockets Could Go Up 3-2 vs Warriors
The strategy of Houston coach Mike D’Antoni before the game was to go with a shorter rotation of players, and only seven of them saw action for the Rockets on Tuesday. And this was anything but a balanced scoring attack, with James Harden tallying 30, Chris Paul 27 and no one else in the starting lineup even reaching double figures. But Houston followed its game plan as far as shot distribution is concerned, as just under 50% of their attempts were from beyond three-point territory. They did not make a huge percentage of them (just 31.6%), but they also did more than a commendable job against the Warriors defensively, holding them to 39% from the field, forcing 16 turnovers and keeping the pace to a level that was more agreeable with them.
If what D’Antoni told reporters after the game is to be believed, the Rockets will try what worked in Game 4 once again, which means fewer people in the rotation and more dependence on the two superstars.
It makes sense for Houston to go with fewer people, because they will force Golden State to keep a lot of its big men on the bench. The Warriors did a better job rebounding in Game 4, and that included 16 boards on the offensive end. But what was really interesting is that the Rockets forced Golden State to utilize more isolation on the offensive end. How do they do that? By their way of switching against Golden State’s pick-and-roll game. While the Warriors have great players who can go one-on-one with anybody, their preferred method of operating offensively is to utilize a lot of ball movement and they simply were not able to do this to the extent they wanted to, actually registering more turnovers and they did assists, and that is no one’s idea pointing basketball.
Some of their players can obviously shoot better. Kevin Durant went 9-24, while Klay Thompson, who as it turns out has a knee strain, was 4-13. Steph Curry, who had broken out of a three-point slump in Game 3, made six triples, was only 4-13 on two-point attempts. And only three members of the Warriors even got to the free-throw line.
Steve Kerr intends to “tweak” all of this, because after all, this team had victory in the palm of its hands coming down the stretch, but, in his words, just “got tired.” Yes, they found out that Houston was tougher than they had imagined, but the Rockets still shouldn’t be able to deal with the overall balance that Golden State employees. We are going to move with the Warriors on the road in this one, as they will force Houston to win yet another road game in order to capture this series.
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