Two days ago it looked a lot more likely that the Cavaliers would meet the Warriors in the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row. That’s still a possibility, but after Houston’s improbable win in Golden State to regain home court advantage and Boston’s third home romp of the series in Game 5, we could be looking at a Celtics/Rockets NBA Finals.
Of course, Golden State blew out Houston at the Toyota Center in Game 1 of this series and won another game by 40 at Oracle. The Warriors are more than just capable of winning one of the two road games that the Rockets almost certainly must win to get back to the Finals for the first time since the Olajuwon era.
Houston is a one-point favorite with neither side receiving a heavy majority of the action ahead of tonight’s tip.
In the aftermath of Houston’s Game 4 win, a report has surfaced about Chris Paul‘s foot and how he told Mike D’Antoni that if he could get it feeling ok, the Rockets could beat the Warriors.
Paul has been dealing with a sore foot but felt a lot better, reportedly (and apparently), in Game 4, when he dropped 27 on 10-for-20 from the field. He was getting good lift on his jump shot and hit five 3-pointers as a result, all of which were huge shots in such a close game.
Meanwhile, Golden State missed Andre Iguodala in Game 4 and may miss him again. Both he and Klay Thompson, who briefly left the floor in Game 4 only to return, are questionable for tonight. It sounds like Iguodala is more likely to miss the game completely but none of it sounds good for Golden State, which has depth when its stars are healthy but that depth quickly disappears when the secondary guys are expected to fill in for the first five guys on the depth chart.
The city of Houston is going to be jumping tonight and the Rockets know that this is a game they must win if they are to win this series. But Golden State hasn’t lost consecutive playoff games in the Durant era and since the 2016 Finals after the Draymond Green suspension. They will give Houston their best shot.
Still, what I know about the NBA is it loves storylines and it loves long, money-making series’. I fully expect Houston to play well with the help of a couple favorable whistles here and there. The league office surely wants the Rockets to win this one to potentially set up a tasty Game 7.
Free Pick: Houston -1