Welcome to the Western Conference Final Stephen Curry. The two-time MVP was on the floor in Houston, but he didn’t do much, at least by his standards. Curry tiptoed through the first half on Sunday and he came alive in the third quarter when the Golden State Warriors ran away from the Houston Rockets to take a 2-1 series lead. Curry scored 35 points, exceeding his output from the first two games combined, and the Dubs slapped the Rockets with their worst playoff loss. In order to even the series the Rockets will have to end the Warriors NBA record 16-game home playoff winning streak on Wednesday.
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Game 4 of the Western Conference Final is set for Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9 p.m. ET from Oracle Arena in Oakland. The game will be nationally televised on TNT
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These are the two best teams in the NBA and we should have a close game in the series, shouldn’t we? Each game has been decided by at least 13 points with the combined margin of victory in the last two at 63 points. The Warriors closed as a 7.5-point favorite and won Game 3 by 41 points.
That caused oddsmakers to push the line for Game 4 to 8.5 points and early money on the defending champs saw the spread climb to Warriors -9. Don’t let Houston’s Game 3 performance scare you, though. They were the best team during the regular season and they will bounce back from their worst playoff loss.
The teams have alternated wins and losses during their six games this season and the Rockets need a victory or they will be in serious trouble. They are good, but beating the Warriors in three straight games is a difficult task. And a win on Wednesday will avoid that scenario. However, Golden State is unbeatable at home, literally. The Dubs haven’t lost a playoff game at Oracle since the 2016 Finals.
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It was just a matter of time before Stephen Curry busted out of his shooting slump, and he did so in a big way on Sunday. After scoring 34 points total in the first two games of the series, Curry amassed 35 in Game 3, leading the Dubs to a 126-85 slaughter.
Curry had just nine points at halftime, but his third quarter barrage helped the Warriors expand on their 11-point lead at the break. The two-time MVP was perfect from the field in the quarter, hitting all seven of his shots, including a pair of triples. He went 10 of 12 overall and 4 of 5 from deep in the second half. His scoring output in the second half was more than any Houston player had for the entire game.
And now the Rockets have another offensive weapon to worry about. All five Warriors starters reached double figures in scoring for the first time this postseason, displaying the balance that makes them the favorite to repeat as league champions.
The planets were aligned for the Warriors in Game 3. With Curry producing like we know he can and the defense harassing James Harden and Chris Paul, the Dubs played one of their most complete games of the year.
The Dubs shot 52.2 percent and amassed their highest point total of the postseason. But it was their defense that stood out and had Steve Kerr gushing afterwards. The Warriors blanketed Harden and Paul, holding them to 12 of 32 combined shooting, and they forced the Rockets into a playoff-high 20 turnovers, which were converted into 28 points.
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Any momentum the Rockets had after their Game 2 victory dissolved in the lopsided loss. But they have short memories, and they’ll need to. What happens in one game doesn’t carryover and the Rockets are backed into a corner desperately needing to win Game 4.
I expect to see a more aggressive Rockets team on Wednesday and with more contributions from Paul and Harden, this one will be much closer. They made the adjustments to win Game 2 and the Rockets were the best team during the regular season. They aren’t rolling over and with the line increased after the Game 3 massacre the Rockets are a good bet to cover.
NBA ATS Pick: Rockets 117, Warriors 112