So much for compelling professional basketball in the Conference Championships as thru three games, the average margin of victory has been north of 20 points per game. Will that change in the West?
Houston’s Game 1 loss to Golden State was disconcerting, but coming back to win by 22 in the second contest of the series gave Rockets and their backers something to feel good about. With three full days off to prepare and knowing the Warriors would be gunning for them, Houston came out a gave a “historic” performance, being the first team to lose by 40+ points to a Warriors team. (The Philadelphia Warriors beat the St. Louis Bombers by 39 points 70 years ago.)
Swinging Johnson shot me a text Sunday night after the third period and said he was going to sleep, saying his Rockets selection had been put to bed. I had to agree. With the current NBA salary at 6.2 million per player and it’s best team missing more layups than a six-grade layup drill, TNT, the network, only had viewers watching wanting to make sure the Under came in on the total.
The NBA odds have Golden State favored by 8.5, as sportsbooks have to show restraint, probably wanting to make Curry and Durant double-digit home favorites.
After six Conference Finals games, Swinging Johnson’s NBA picks could be charitably described as “lackluster”. For Game 4 he took the Warriors (huge surprise) and what follows next is my counter-argument, why the Rockets can at the very least cover the spread.
Both Houston and Golden State each knew coming into this series the winner is likely to win an NBA championship as heavy favorites against the Eastern representative. Instead of a complete effort, both teams have taken turns playing with about as much passion as a robo-caller pushing new life insurance policy.
After Game 3, coach Mike D’Antoni said his team played “soft”. James Harden proclaimed, “We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be…” and Chris Paul added, “We’ve got to be better,” and blah, blah, blah.