Despite needing only one win to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1975 with a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors head into Game 5 Wednesday having covered the spread just once in the Western Conference Finals.
Monday’s 128-115 Game 4 loss to the Rockets dropped the Warriors to 1-3 against the number in the series, and they will be double-digit home favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark like they were back in Game 1 of the series in their second opportunity to close it out.
Golden State closed as 10.5-point favorites in the series opener but held on to beat Houston 110-106, and then followed that up by edging the Rockets 99-98 as 9.5-point chalk in Game 2. But then the Warriors covered easily for their backers in a 115-80 rout on the road in Game 3, the lone time they have been underdogs this postseason.
Houston’s James Harden helped his team avoid getting swept in Game 4 by scoring a playoff career-high 45 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 7-of-11 from three-point range, to go along with nine rebounds and five assists, extending the inevitable at least a little longer.
The Rockets still face a monumental task in the Western Conference Finals knowing that no NBA team has ever come back to win a best-of-seven playoff series after losing the first three games.
Golden State got a scare in Game 4 as well when NBA MVP Stephen Curry fell awkwardly on his head, neck and back near the basket in the second quarter. Curry was tested and did not suffer any concussion symptoms, later returning to action and finishing with a series-low 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting, with 6-of-13 coming from beyond the arc. He ended up playing 31 minutes, his lowest total in the playoffs.
Game 4 was the highest-scoring Rockets vs. Warriors betting matchup of the Western Conference Finals, finishing over the closing total of 214 points following three consecutive under results to start the series. It marked just the third time in 14 postseason games that the over cashed for the Warriors, who averaged an NBA-best 110 points during the regular season.
The total also went over for the first time in five games for Houston, according to the OddsShark NBA database. The Rockets had scored a playoff-low 80 points in Game 3 before rebounding for the team’s second-highest point total of the postseason.