Will the Warriors respond at home

Warriors To Respond To Rockets Onslaught

The Houston Rockets bounced back from their defeat in game one of the Western Conference Finals with a resounding performance to defeat the Golden State Warriors.

The Rockets struggled to match the accuracy of Golden State from the field as Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson put them to the sword.

However, Houston put on an offensive clinic in game two, putting 127 points on the board. Mike D’Antoni’s men were well below-par outside of James Harden in their shooting from the field.

The response was led by Eric Gordon, who came off the bench to score 27 points. Gordon made 16 of his 29 shots from the field, including an incredible feat of six of his nine three-pointers.

Harden was his consistent self, notching 27 points in a solid outing. The pressure was alleviated on the All-Star as Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza and Gordon all came to the fore.

Golden State were not quite at their best in the final third, while their defense wilted in face on an onslaught from the Rockets. Durant maintained his high standards, but Thompson and Steph Curry were off the pace, which could be a concern, especially with the former MVP’s recent injury.

The pressure will be on the Warriors to rise to the occasion on home soil to regain their control.

Will the Warriors respond at home

Houston Rockets

D’Antoni’s men needed a response to their poor performance in the opener and they delivered a fine outing. Houston left Harden alone to take on the Warriors and although he notched a 40-point outing it was nowhere near enough to compete. The 28-year-old needs an impressive playoff series to put his name alongside Durant, Curry and LeBron in the standing as part of the NBA’s elite. Thus far against Golden State, he has been excellent, backing up his effort from the opener with a 27-pointer in game two. Harden was not at his best from the field, making only nine out his 24 attempts, including only three of his 15 three-pointers. It’s encouraging for the Rockets as he is more than capable of taking the game away from the Warriors on his own.

Harden required support from his team-mates in game two. Gordon rose to the challenge, overcoming his disastrous outing in the opener. His shooting was excellent, especially from the perimeter when he appeared to be able to hit nothing but net. Gordon came off the bench and starred for the Rockets and should he continue that standard of play then they have an excellent chance of matching Golden State score-for-score.

PJ Tucker was equally impressive and his accuracy was the best of the lot, sinking eight of his nine attempts, while his shooting from the perimeter was nothing short of sensational. Tucker scored for five out of his shots and was also active playing his team-mates in around the rim, with four assists over the course of the contest. Tucker and Gordon will be vital throughout the series to keep the attention off Harden and Paul. Matching that level for the remaining games will be crucial as this will not be decided on defense.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors were off the pace in game two other than Durant, who maintained his incredible run of form. He notched 38 points, although he did not boast the level of accuracy from the opener. However, Durant was still far away his side’s best player on both ends of the court. Golden State needed him to operate at his elite level as like Harden he had no support from his team-mates. The series could well be decided by the supporting cast. Should Thompson and Curry continue to struggle then it could put the Warriors’ hopes of reaching the Finals in severe jeopardy.

Curry has not looked right since his return from an MCL injury. He made his comeback against the New Orleans Pelicans and has not been fluent on the court. Curry played 34 minutes in game two, but he only notched 16 points, making only seven of his 19 attempts from the field. The 28-year-old usually has deadly accuracy from the perimeter, although it was not the case at the Toyota Center as he netted just one out of nine. Curry is moving the ball well enough, collating seven assists. However, his team need him to find his scoring touch as Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are not going to break double figures with consistency.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment from the Warriors’ perspective was Thompson’s display. For as good as he was in the opener, he was just as poor in game two. He notched only eight points, 20 fewer than his total in game one. With Curry not quite at full strength he needs to be the support act to Durant. His shooting from inside the perimeter was extremely poor, netting one out of seven efforts. He cannot afford to have another poor outing in the series.

Breakdown

Game three will come down to whether the performances of the supporting cast. Should the Rockets produce an outstanding level of play from their men outside of Harden then Houston could be on course to take the lead in the series. However, Thompson and Curry are far too good to have two underwhelming displays in a row, especially in the post-season. If that were the case then something is clearly wrong with both players.

Durant has been playing out of his skin in the playoffs. He could well single-handedly carry Golden State to victory, unfortunately for him Harden is capable of the same feat on the other side. Gordon, Ariza and Tucker were brilliant in game two, but whether they are ready to take that level on the road remains to be seen. Golden State are unbeaten in the playoffs at Oracle Arena this term, therefore it’s wise to back them for the win at odds of -335   with BetOnline. However, Houston could make it a close one by covering the +5.5 spread at odds of +116   with 888Sport.

Tips Summary

Golden State Warriors To Beat Houston Rockets Game Three
Sunday 20th May 2018 20:00 ET (Monday 21st May 2018 01:00 BST)
Odds: -335

Houston Rockets To Cover +5.5 Spread
Sunday 20th May 2018 20:00 ET (Monday 21st May 2018 01:00 BST)
Odds: +116

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