NBA Playoffs Betting: Clippers at Rockets

NBA Playoffs Betting: Clippers at Rockets

Six days ago the Houston Rockets were down 3-1 to the Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals after back-to-back humiliating defeats. They looked dead on arrival heading into Game 5, and Dwight Howard was playing an ineffective and frustrating brand of basketball. A pair of impressive victories later finds the Rockets at home with a chance to punch a ticket to the conference finals in a win-or-else Game 7. Meanwhile, the Clippers are reeling after losing control of the series. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have been solid, but LA’s normally lethal bench has come up small of late. For them to avoid total collapse, their shooting, especially from beyond the arc, must improve dramatically, as well as their team rebounding. Here’s a preview for Sunday’s Game 7.


On of the main reasons why the Clippers are such a potent offense is the bench production from Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers. In Games 5 and 6, this duo combined to hit a woeful 11-42 shots, including 3-17 from three-point range. For them to advance, this has to change. Getting outrebounded by 38 didn’t do them any favors, either. They need second-chance opportunities to make up for poor shooting. Putting pressure on Griffin and Paul to do all the heavy lifting isn’t a recipe for success, because the Rockets’ bench is lighting up the scoreboard. Getting DeAndre Jordan involved a little more on the offensive end will help, if for no other reason than to challenge Howard and possibly get him into foul trouble. But this pretty much comes down to the Clippers knocking down open looks and converting baskets in transition. They are more athletic overall and better at running and gunning.

There was a Josh Smith sighting in Game 6. Smitty hit double-digits for the first time in the series, racking 19 points and nailing 4-7 three-point attempts. He along with Corey Brewer and Terrence Jones were the difference-makers. And since James Harden has been relatively quiet in the points column, getting increased scoring from other players is exactly what the Rockets need to move on. Dwight Howard donned his cape the last two games, totaling 40 points and 36 rebounds; he’s been a dominant force in the paint and the Clips suddenly have no answers for him. There’s also Houston’s confidence factor to consider after overcoming a 13-point deficit at the start of the 4th quarter to cruise to a 12-point victory. They absorbed LA’s best punches, got back up, and are now primed to deliver a knockout blow at home, where they have taken 9 of 11.

The Clippers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven trips to Houston. The Rockets are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home tilts. On the road coming off a colossal flop, it will take a sterling effort from Los Angeles to close out the series. That seems unlikely.

Bet Houston +2