Houston Still Underdogs to Beat Golden State with Series Tied 2-2

james harden

The Houston Rockets were written off after falling behind 2-0 to the Golden State Warriors in their best-of-seven series.

According to MyTopSportsbooks.com, Houston’s odds to win the series, which started at +215, fell to +425 after their Game 2 setback. Those odds gave them less than a 20% chance to comeback against the mighty Warriors.

Houston’s Odds Have Improved After Two Straight Wins

Fast forward two games — and two Houston wins — and the odds have changed drastically. James Harden and company are now +200 to win what has become a best-of-three series.
The differences in Games 3 and 4 were not huge. Almost every game in this series has been hyper competitive and tight down the stretch. But one statistic that stands out is offensive rebounds.

The Offensive Glass Has Been the Difference

The team that has had the edge on the offensive glass has won every game in this series so far.

Game 1 (104-100 Golden State): 8-3 edge for the Warriors
Game 2 (115-109 Golden State): 18-10 edge for the Warriors
Game 3 (161-121 Houston in OT): 17-7 edge for the Rockets
Game 4 (112-108 Houston): 13-8 edge for the Rockets

Houston’s advantage on the offensive glass in the last two games is somewhat surprising, given that Mike D’Antoni made a concerted effort to go small in Games 3 and 4.
But the tenacity of PJ Tucker and Clint Capela, who combined for 19 offensive rebounds, got the job done on the glass, and that can certainly be viewed as the difference-maker in Houston’s Ws.

Home-Court (Dis)advantage Remains Houston’s Biggest Challenge

The big hurdle that remains for Houston is that two of the final three are at Oracle Arena.

While they have found ways to win there in the past, and the Warriors are not the iron-clad lock they used to be on their home court, Golden State will still have an edge in those two games.

The Warriors went 30-11 at home in the regular season, while the Rockets were only three games over .500 on the road (22-19).

There’s a sentiment that Houston doesn’t get the same calls on the road as they do at home, and it’s a long-held belief among many NBA pundits that home teams tend to get favorable refereeing.

Coupled with the fact that the Warriors – especially glue guys like Draymond Green – seem to have a bit more energy in front of friendly fans, Golden State gets just the boost it needs to separate from Houston, at least that was the case in Games 1 and 2. Green has eight offensive boards in the Warriors’ wins and just four in their losses.
If Houston is going to finish off this improbable comeback, it will need Harden (35.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 9.8 FTA) to be every bit as effective as he has been so far, while hoping that Kevin Durant (36.0 PPG, 44.2 P3P%) comes back to earth and Steph Curry (21.3 PPG, 26.0 3P5) doesn’t heat up from deep and regain his MVP form.

But they will also need to carry the same energy they have in Houston on the road. If Harden can essentially play Durant to a stalemate, which is asking a lot, Capela, Tucker, and Chris Paul will have to out-produce Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson. Highly likely? No, but absolutely possible.

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