By Chad Cooper
In the worse scenario possible, the Houston Rockets return home down 2-0 in the Best of 7 Western Conference semifinals after a 115-109 loss on Tuesday night in Oakland.
When the Rockets trashed the officiating after a Game 1 debauchery by three whistle blowers, you knew the NBA would not take it lightly. So in return, the league sent veteran official Scott Foster to officiate. Since 2014, the Rockets were 3-7 against the spread when Foster officiates one of their games, which also includes a 0-5 ATS in their last five games. It was February when James Harden fouled out in a game that Foster was in, which caused Harden to blast him. Foster didn’t work another Houston game, until now.
One thing I’ve always learned in sports betting – the trend is your friend. GSW were 5.5-point favorites in Game 2 and covered (backdoor) with Foster officiating the game. The Rockets are no 3-8 against the spread with Foster in the game. Make that 0 for their last 6 in six games.
The tone was set early. Two MVPs went down with injuries – Seth Curry with a dislocated left middle finger while Draymond Green gave Harden the ol’ Ric Flair eye-rake. Harden stayed in the lockerroom for a while with “blood coming from his eye” and Curry returned within a few minutes. I’m convinced the Warriors have made some sort of deal with the devil. Harden eventually came back to the bench in the 2nd quarter.
The Rockets played about as horrible first half as they had all year. The Warriors forced 13 turnovers that led to 20 points. Warriors with only 4 turnovers. What was even worse, Golden State had 14 offensive rebounds. Houston only down 9 at half, but felt like 40.
The Warriors managed to make a nasty run late in the 3rd with Klay Thompson drilling back to back 3’s. The Good Guys would hang tight, but couldn’t hit big shots like the Golden State Globetrotters did. Houston fans are close to finding the nearest bridge.
As the great Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind reminds us daily, “I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend.” Yes, a lot of concern down 2-0 with Game 3 on Saturday, May 4, in Houston at the Toyota Center. Most of in comes in the way of Clint Capela, who did play better, and Danuel House – defend and box out!
I don’t see a Golden State sweeping (there is always a concern that the Rockets tank if Golden State don’t miss a shop, which they are capable of since they sold their souls).
NBA television ratings were down this season, but did you see the TV ratings for Game 1 on Sunday? Golden State/Houston was the highest-rated NBA Conference Semifinals broadcast since 2011 with 7.26 million viewers. That’s a 20% increase than last year.
I’m not saying this is going all 7 games, but I do expect the Rockets to step up the test. If they don’t, then Tilman Fertitta will be asking Daryl Morey some questions. The Rockets open up as a 3.5-point favorite for Saturday… Say whaaat?