Series ATS Record: 5-0-1 (+24u)
9:00 PM EST
Rockets -7 over Warriors (3u)
James Harden O34.5 (1u)
All of the talk in the media about how the Warriors will be fine without Durant and how he was a luxury not a necessity is absolute nonsense. Yes, this is the same core group with Curry, Thompson, Green and Iguodala who won 73 games in 2016 but that was three years ago and even though the core is the same (albeit 3 years older) the team as a whole is far worse. I have been saying it all series long but there is no debate that the Warriors bench is not of NBA quality. Now take away the best player in the world in Durant and the series takes on a totally different dynamic. There is a reason why the Warriors are the biggest underdogs tonight they have ever been in the Steve Kerr era. The Rockets were in this same situation last year when they lost their super star in Chris Paul the last few games which shifted the series in favor of the Warriors, now this year it is reversed. The Rockets weren’t able to take advantage of Kevin Durant’s injury in Game 5 but that changes tonight. Without KD on the floor the Warriors won’t be able to use their “Death Lineup” and will have to start a washed up Livingston or Looney. Capella who has been next to useless this series thus far should dominate these next two games as the pick and roll lob will be open all day and the Rockets will be able to switch everything without having to worry about the Warriors best defender in KD. Houston has been a mediocre road team but has been an absolute force at home, 10-1 ATS in their last 11 home games. The role players have struggled in Oracle but have been excellent at home and I look for more of the same tonight. Typically I make it a rule never fade a team in the NBA in their next game after losing their star player as the rest of the team steps up even more in his absence which is the only reason this isn’t an even bigger play. But in a Game 6 elimination game with their backs against the wall, the Rockets will be giving maximum effort themselves as well so it negates that edge for the Warriors tonight. It’s now or never for the Rockets, Harden and Paul have been known as perennial chokers their entire career and tonight is their chance to finally exorcise that stigma. I’m expecting a huge performance from the Rockets, and James Harden in particular. If the Rockets can get hot from 3 this game is probably going to get out of hand at some point and Kerr should call off the dogs and preserve their energy for an epic Game 7 on Sunday. Take Houston.