NBA Playoffs Betting: Rockets at Warriors Game 2

NBA Playoffs Betting: Rockets at Warriors Game 2

Game 2 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals tips tonight in Oakland as the Rockets attempt to even their Best of 7 series with the Warriors. Houston might be doing so without center Dwight Howard, who is questionable to suit up with a sprained left knee. Howard tweaked the knee in the first quarter of Game 1 and mustered only 7 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes. Of course Howard missed half the regular season with various knee issues, so the Rockets are accustomed to not having their big man available. However, with a ticket to the Finals on the line, his absence will be felt harder against an extremely difficult Golden State team powered by MVP Steph Curry, who racked a game-high 34 points in the opening victory. Here’s a preview of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.


Rookie Clint Capela will get the call if Howard is sidelined. Capela totaled 9 points and 4 rebounds in limited minutes in Game 1, but his inexperience and lack of scoring prowess means others will have to pick up the slack — most notably being Josh Smith and Terrence Jones. The latter delivered an underwhelming 5 points and 4 rebounds on 2-10 shooting in Game 1, which isn’t nearly enough to topple the team with the NBA’s best record. James Harden was sharp on Tuesday night and will have to deliver the goods again in order to return to Houston deadlocked. The key player could be Josh Smith, who has ripped off three straight quality performances after struggling early in the semifinals. Smith has the athleticism and three-point touch to inflict serious damage if he finds a groove. Perimeter shooting will be critical if Howard sits or is less than 100%.

The Warriors came out on top in Game 1 despite a relatively quiet effort from Klay Thompson. Curry took over down the stretch and received solid help from reserve guard Shaun Livingston’s 18 points and 7 rebounds. Andrew Bogut is hardly an offensive stalwart, but 0 points and 4 rebounds versus a gimpy Howard is downright pathetic. He has no excuses for not playing better in Game 2, because a few timely offensive rebounds might end up being the difference. If not for a second quarter explosion, the Warriors would’ve lost Game 1. Getting three-point production from Thompson and Harrison Barnes makes the attack much more potent, so scheming early looks for both should be a priority for head coach Steve Kerr. It’s no secret that Golden State wants to run-n-gun. Keeping them hovering around 100 points is the only way to beat them at home, which is a tall order for the undermanned Rockets.

Houston has covered four in a row. Golden State is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. If Howard can’t go, a blowout win for the home team is quite possible.

Bet Golden State -10.5