Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 7:00 AM
It largely went unnoticed in all the post-game hoopla regarding Steph Curry’s head injury and the flooding that kept people in the Houston Rockets’ arena overnight. But, we had a very interesting coincidence in play when comparing Game Three to Game Four of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
Game Three: Golden State scored 115 points in a 35-point win
Game Four: Golden State scored 115 points in a 12-point loss
The Warriors shot 45% in both games…on the way to exactly 115 points. Yet, there was a 47-point reversal in the result! Golden State was getting more media run as one of the greatest NBA teams EVER (particularly in data journalism circles) the first time they scored 115 points…but were then getting blasted for a lack of effort the next time. What the heck happened? Let’s take a look…
GAME FOUR STATS
Houston 127, Golden State 115
Shooting Pct: Golden State 45%, Houston 57%
Three-Pointers: Golden State 20/46, Houston 17/32
Free Throws: Golden State 7/13, Houston 25/43
Rebounds: Golden State 47, Houston 46
Turnovers: Golden State 15, Houston 16
Vegas Line: Golden State by 5, total of 213.5
Houston went from 5 of 25 on treys to 17 of 32. Big difference! They also shot a lot more free throws, but didn’t do a very good job of making them. But, the bottom line here really is the fact that Golden State took a night off in terms of intensity. The Warriors came out flat-footed, figuring they could just show up and finish the sweep. If you allow 45 points in the first quarter…you might as well have been playing in flip-flops.
When they finally stop playing flat-footed and got airborne…they got flipped over and landed on their head!
Hopefully there aren’t any longterm ramifications of Steph Curry’s fall. He sure wasn’t himself after returning, even if he technically passed the concussion protocol administered by team officials. What we can be sure of is that Golden State’s going to bring more defensive intensity Wednesday night in Game Five.
Houston’s Shooting Percentages by Game: 47%, 46%, 34%, 57%
That 57% is not likely to show up again. The Rockets did manage to cover the first two games when shooting 47% and 46%. Shooting percentage probably is the linchin stat for determining Wednesday’s ATS (against the spread) result. Houston has to make a run at 50% to win outright and extend the series. Something in the mid to high 40’s would mean a pointspread cover but a series-ending loss. In the low 40’s or worse, then the Warriors are winning a laugher.
Wednesday’s Vegas Line: Golden State by 10.5, total of 216
Clearly the market is expecting an easy win. But, Golden State is always priced to perfection. That’s why they’re only 6-8 ATS through 14 playoff games. When they’re hitting on all cylinders, nobody can get close to them. That’s not happening as much as the market is giving them credit for. Handicappers will have to determine if we’ll see a peak performance Wednesday, or another relative disappointment.
JIM HURLEY and his West Coast sources are covering all the angles here. You have Houston trying to maintain intensity amidst the Dwight Howard soap opera. You have Steph Curry going through more medical tests as he tries to regain his mental sharpness. You have Warriors Nation wanting to get this thing over with so everyone can rest up for next Thursday’s Championship series opener. And, you have a volatile series that has yet to see a game come within five points of the market projection.
You can purchase the final word for Wednesday (this game plus some baseball blowouts) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure to check on combination packages that include the upcoming Belmont Stakes that will be very much in the sports headlines in short order.
Keep visiting daily for NOTEBOOK insights. Coming up on these pages…
Thursday: Game Five Preview…Cleveland at Atlanta (if necessary) or MLB Series Preview Detroit Tigers at the Los Angeles Angels
Friday: MLB Series Preview: Kansas City Royals at Chicago Cubs (unless there’s a Game Six in Golden State/Houston)
Saturday: MLB Big Game Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
This will probably be our last discussion of the Western Finals. Hey…you never know what might happen in the world of sports! Another quick reminder that we’ll run our official Championship Finals preview on Wednesday June 3.
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