Gary | Tue 09/05/2017 - 13:39 EDT

Houston will keep it close in Game 5

The Rockets need to hit the mark from downtown

By Eric Uribe

Over/under 214.5 points: Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs (-5.5)

Below odds courtesy of BetOnline.

When the Rockets are hot from the three-point line, there might not be a team in the league that can beat them. In Game 4, Houston banged in 19 three-pointers en route to a 125-104 victory to even up the series at two games.

It was the same formula the Rockets used in a blowout win in Game 1 when they knocked down 22 three-pointers. In two losses after that, Houston shot a combined 23-of-73 from downtown. This trend dates back to the regular season, too. In wins, they averaged 15.8 makes from three-point range, while just 11.6 in losses. It’s a miss-or-make league, so be rest assured Game 5 will be decided from beyond the arc.

Gregg Popovich pinned San Antonio’s defensive struggles on their lackluster transition defense after the game. That’s warranted considering the Rockets scored more transition points in the first frame of Game 4 than it did in all of Game 3. Breakdowns in the Spurs scheme allowed Houston to shoot 21 uncontest three-balls, hitting on 11 of them.

Credit Houston’s supporting cast for the win, too. James Harden was his usual MVP self with a 28-point and 12-assist effort. However, his trio of side kicks — Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza, and Eric Gordon — came to play, going 11-of-19 from the three-point line.

The victory was not without a casualty for the Rockets. Key reserve Nene Hilario left the game early with a groin injury. He’s been ruled out for the remainder of the postseason and his absence will be felt. While Hilario hasn’t lit up the box score this series, Houston is desperate for size.

The Spurs’ massive frontcourt of LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Gasol is their advantage over the Rockets. Without Nene, there’s mismatches all over the court. At certain points in Game 4, Harden was seen guarding Aldridge and Gasol, two players he concedes six inches to.

This series has been so back and forth that the now a best-of-three affair may come down to coaching prowess. Popovich may have already gotten a leg up on Mike D’Antonio entering the next game, as he pulled his starters quickly in Game 4.

Harden

Kawhi Leonard took a seat in the third quarter and never returned, while Popovich emptied his bench most of the final frame. Speaking of Leonard, he had a rare off game last time around. Leonard finished with a pedestrian 16 points and six rebounds. The Spurs one-two punch of Leonard and Aldridge finished with 32 points total. That’s not going to cut it going forward, especially with Tony Parker out of the lineup.

Game 5 is insanely crucial.

We know that’s cliche to say during playoff time, however, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the series 83 percent of the time. Knowing that, expect a Game 7-like atmosphere on Tuesday. While blowouts have been the norm this series, a nail-biter seems likely next game.

That means Rockets at plus-five-and-a-half is a pure value bet. As for the total, this series has trended towards the over. Three of the four games topped the total. With so much on the line this game, expect the same in Game 5. Leonard is in store for a bounce-back game and Houston will continue its three-point onslaught.

Pick: Houston (+5.5) Total: Over

Results / FixturesNBA

Category : Sports Betting News

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