The Western Conference Finals changes venue back to the Lone Star State for a pivotal contest that will put someone on the brink of elimination. The second-seeded Golden State Warriors are on the road for Game 5 of their best of seven set with the top-seeded Houston Rockets Thursday night. Golden State drew first blood in the series as they pulled away in the second half to earn a 119-106 win Monday night in Game 1. Houston rebounded with a convincing 127-105 shellacking in Game 2 to even the series. Golden State maintained home-court advantage with an emphatic 126-85 drubbing in Game 3 Sunday to take a 2-1 series lead. Houston squared the series and regained home court with a tough 95-92 road win in Game 4 Tuesday. The Rockets own a 121-92 edge in regular season wins and took two of three this season, including a 116-108 home win in the last matchup January 20. In the postseason, Golden State has won both previous series and holds a 10-4 edge in head to head playoff wins.


Trends

Golden State Warriors [-1]

Warriors are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games

Houston Rockets [+1]

Rockets are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 1 day of rest.


Houston has played much better with one day in between games in this series: after losing Game 1 following a layoff, they bounced back with a win in Game 2. After three days off following that contest, they were blown out in Game 3 before bouncing back with their gritty showing in Game 4. There’s no extended layoff here so that’s something that seems to work in Houston’s favor. The Rockets have momentum as they showed they can grind Golden State to a halt with their defense. Both teams really shortened their rotations in Game 4 and it will be interesting to see how that affects players going forward. Playing at home with the momentum of the fourth quarter in their pockets, Houston finds a way to win here and take a 3-2 series edge.

 

Pick: Houston Rockets*

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