Jazz vs. Rockets Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals Game 2

jazz-rockets-game-2-oddsThe Utah Jazz have had the misfortune of playing the top seeded team in the West for two years in a row. Last year, they faced the Golden State Warriors in the semifinals, who promptly swept them.

And this year’s matchup with the Houston Rockets is off to a rough start, with Utah losing Game 1 by a score of 110-96. But it’s still early in the series, and Utah has plenty of time to turn things around.

As for the Rockets, not much changed from the regular season. They finished with the league’s best record at 65-17 and will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Will Houston keep rolling and walk into the Western Conference Finals? Or can the Jazz make this a series by winning Game 2?

I’m going to discuss the matter below along with both teams’ chances of covering the spread. Also note that you can bet on this game at GTBets.

Houston Utah Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Semifinals Series Game 2, May 2 at 8:05pm ET

Jazz +11 (-109) / +635 moneyline
Rockets -11 (-109)/ -979 moneyline
Over 204.5 (-110)
Under 204.5 (-108)

Why the Utah Jazz Will Cover +11

jazz-rockets-playoffs-bettingThe Utah Jazz may have lost the first game by 14 points. But they certainly didn’t play poorly. In fact, they shot 50% from the field and had good offensive performances out of rookie Donovan Mitchell and Jae Crowder (both 21 points).

The main place where Utah was lacking is the three-point line. Outside of Crowder, who hit 5 out of 7 three-pointers, the rest of the team shot a dismal 2 for 15. Add it all up, and the Jazz made less than 32% of their attempts from beyond the arc.

For Utah to keep pace with the Rockets, they absolutely must shoot the ball better from outside. This is within the realm of possibility, given that they hit 36.6% of their three’s during the season.

Once again, the Jazz find themselves in a spot where it’s a struggle to control the game tempo. They obviously want to slow things down and make this a half-court contest. But just like when they faced the Warriors last year, it’s going to be hard to slow the Rockets.

The key for Utah in Game 2 will be limiting Houston’s transition opportunities so that the Rockets are forced to play more half-court sets. This feeds into the Jazz’s hands, because Rudy Gobert can make more of an impact with his shot-blocking abilities.

Assuming the Jazz can slow the game down, then look for this to be a closer contest than their +11 spread suggest.

Jazz Playoffs ATS Record: 3-4 overall; 1-3 on the road

Why the Houston Rockets Will Cover +11

rockets-jazz-game-2-oddsJames Harden delivered his usual MVP-caliber play in the first contest. The Beard scored 41 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists. He was hot from beyond the arc, making 7 out of 12 three-pointers.

Harden got plenty of help too, with Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and P.J. Tucker adding 17, 16, and 15 points, respectively. The only real downside in terms of stats is that Paul had an uncharacteristic 7 turnovers. But don’t count on this too often from one of the game’s best point guards.

As a team, Houston shot 45.1% from the field, which wasn’t as good as Utah overall. But the key difference is that they made 53.1% of their three-point shots.

The Rockets may not have gotten out and ran as much as they’d like in Game 1, because Utah will try to keep this a half-court affair the entire series. But they were able to impose their will enough to take the first contest down.

With another home game on the slate, it doesn’t seem like Houston will have much trouble winning again. The only question is if they can cover the lofty -11 spread that GTBets has set for them right now.

Rockets Playoffs ATS Record: 4-2 overall; 3-1 at home

Final Thoughts on Houston and Utah Odds

The Jazz have been okay against the spread in the playoff so far. That said, it doesn’t unrealistic for them to cover +11. This is especially the case if they can shoot better from the three-point line.

I don’t think that Houston has any reason to fear losing Game 2. But considering that the Jazz are a tough team that plays good defense, I don’t know if the Rockets will blow out the Jazz two games in a row. This being the case, look for the Rockets to win by a comfortable margin, but not enough to cover -11.

Final Score Prediction: Houston wins 107-98 – Jazz cover +11 spread

Cavs vs. Raptors Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Betting Game 1

cavs-raptors-2018-nba-playoffs-oddsNeither the Cleveland Cavaliers nor the Toronto Raptors had an easy time in the first round. But both teams managed to get by their initial playoff opponents and will meet in the 2018 Eastern Conference semifinals.

Toronto is hoping to beat James and the Cavs in their third try in as many years. And it seems like they have a better chance to do this than ever before, considering that they won a franchise-best 59 games and have the East’s top seed.

They’re also playing better team basketball than ever before. Head coach Dwane Casey redesigned the offense to move away from repeated pick-and-roll sets with guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. This has helped the Raptors’ assist percentage to go from last in the league in 2016-17 (47.2 percent) to 11th this year (59.0 percent).

These numbers alone don’t mean that Toronto is going to get past Cleveland. They’ve gone to 2-8 against the Cavs in the last two postseasons. And the main reason why is because of LeBron James.

To be fair, nobody has stopped James from reaching the NBA Finals in the last seven years. And this is why GM Masai Ujiri Work has worked so hard to put versatile pieces in place that are capable of stopping Cleveland.

Will that be the case in 2018? Find out as I preview the first game of this Eastern Conference semifinals series. You can also see the odds on this game below and make your wagers at GTBets.

Cavs Raptors Odds – 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 1, May 1 at 8:00pm EST

Cleveland +6.5 (-113) / +221 moneyline
Toronto -6.5 (-105)/ -263 moneyline
Over/under 215.5 (-109)

Why the Cleveland Cavs Will Cover +6.5

Looking at stats from the Pacers series, one thing is clear: LeBron is carrying his team more than ever before.

kevin-love-cavs-raptorsJames averaged 34.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 7.7 APG in the first round, while scoring 45 points to extinguish Indiana in Game 7. Cleveland added a number of players in the offseason that they hoped could take the load off LeBron. But many of these players were sent packing in a midseason roster overall.

One thing’s for sure, and that’s how Kevin Love needs to step up in the second round. He averaged 11.1 PPG and 9.3 RPG against the Pacers. While not bad numbers, this isn’t what you’d expect from the team’s No. 2 option.

Of course, Love isn’t the only one who needs to contribute more for Cleveland to beat the Raptors. J.R. Smith, Rodney Hood, and Jordan Clarkson have also been underwhelming so far. Meanwhile, George Hill, Kyle Korver, Larry Nance, and Tristan Thompson (namely Game 7) played up to their abilities during parts of the Indiana series.

Hood has especially been disappointing so far. He averaged 16.8 PPG and shot 38.9% from the three-point line before being acquired from Utah. However, he’s struggled in Cleveland, averaging 10.8 PPG and shooting 35.2% from the arc.

I chalk up some of this to Cleveland playing their first postseason series together. I can’t guarantee that they’ll gel enough to knock off the Raptors. But they should certainly play better as a unit with seven playoff games under their belt.

And Cleveland has one undeniable advantage in that nobody in the East can handle James one-on-one. This was evident in the Pacers series, and it will be true against Toronto as well. He’ll see a lot of rookie OG Anunoby, whom he shot 61.9% against in the regular season.

Another plus for Cleveland is that they led the league in spot-up shooting (1.08 points per possession) and rank well in transition offense (17.5 possessions per game). Defending against these areas is a strength of Toronto’s, but they won’t have these defensive advantages against Cleveland.

Cavs 2018 Playoffs ATS Record: 1-6 overall; 1-2 on the road

Why the Toronto Raptors Will Cover -6.5

As good a job as Toronto has done in sharing the ball, it’s clear that DeRozan and Lowry are still the leaders on this team. DeRozan averaged 26.2 PPG against Washington, while Lowry averaged 17.2 PPG and shot 43.6% from beyond the arc.

cavs-raptors-odds-2018-nba-playoffsLowry has a history of struggling every time that Toronto has exited the playoffs in the past three seasons. But if he plays as well as he did against Washington and John Wall, then this team has a definite shot to move on.

Point guard play should be a big strength for the Raptors, because they also have Fred VanVleet, who played well against the Wizards. This bench unit as a whole has been outstanding, showing the ability to flip games. Their offensive net rating led the lead (8.3) while their effective field goal percentage was 54.0%.

Toronto should also have the better defense in this series. They ranked eight in the league by allowing 104.9 points per 100 possessions, which makes them better than Indiana (16th, 106.3). It’s doubtful that this team defense will slow down James, but it could affect the supporting cast even more than the Pacers were able to do.

This looks like the Raptors’ best chance to take down James in years, especially since he no longer has Kyrie Irving as a sidekick.

Raptors 2018 Playoffs ATS Record: 4-2 overall; 3-0 at home

Final Thoughts on Cleveland and Toronto Odds

Cleveland has never looked more vulnerable in the four years since James has came back to the city. Of course, this has nothing to do with LeBron himself, but rather a supporting cast that hasn’t provided much support at all.

Meanwhile, the Raptors have been crafted to take down James. And they have the numbers and roster to back up this vision. However, they didn’t look so dominant against Washington. I think that they’re going to have another tough series when facing off against James.

They’ll most likely take down the first game in the series, but look for this to be another close affair for both teams.

Final Score Prediction: Toronto wins Game 1 by a score of 106-101 – Cleveland covers -5.5

Thunder vs. Jazz Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Betting

thunder-jazz-playoffs-odds-game-6The Oklahoma City Thunder looked finished in Game 5, down by 25 points in the third quarter. Many already began wondering if the super trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony would break up after losing a first-round series against the Utah Jazz.

Then Westbrook got hot. The reigning MVP scored 33 points in the second half and 45 overall to lead his team back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit. Now the Thunder go on the road with a chance to tie up the series.

Utah, meanwhile, has maintained a solid grip on this matchup from the outset. But now they must dig deep and try to rebound from surrendering what should’ve been a series-clinching victory.

Keep reading as I cover both teams’ chances of winning along with the odds on this game. Also note that you can bet on the Thunder vs. Jazz at GTBets.

Oklahoma City Utah Odds – Game 6 First Round Playoffs Series, April 27 at 10:35pm

  • Oklahoma City +5.5 (-109) / +200 moneyline
  • Utah -5.5 (-113)/ -244 moneyline
  • Over 206 (-109)
  • Under 206 (-109)

Why the Oklahoma City Thunder will Cover +5.5

Russell Westbrook won the league MVP last season after becoming just the second player to record a triple-double. He bettered this mark in the 2017-18 season by becoming the only player to average a triple-double in two seasons.

There’s no question that Westbrook is the star of Oklahoma City. And he backed this up by leading his team to victory when they were down by 25 points midway through the third quarter.

“It was win or go home,” he said. “Regardless of what is going on in the game, you have to give yourself a chance to win, and I thought our guys did a good job of that tonight. They did an amazing job of sticking together.”

Gone were the distractions that Westbrook had been immersed in throughout the series, including his personal vendetta to shut down Ricky Rubio. This led to a particularly bad Game 4, and he was assessed a technical during an ugly loss.

All seems forgiven after he scored 45 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out seven assists. He also got plenty of help from Paul George, who scored 34 points and grabbed eight rebounds. George feels that the reason why his team came back from such a huge deficit is that they never gave up.

“We just never quit,” he said. “We never quit. I can’t pinpoint one thing we did wrong. We just never got down on ourselves, regardless of the lead they built and the shots they were making. We could surge back and we did.”

But one missing star for Oklahoma City is definitely Carmelo Anthony, who only scored seven points on 2-for-6 shooting. Anthony was subbed out midway through the third quarter with the Thunder down 71-53. He didn’t see the court again until Oklahoma City was winning 88-87.

Anthony played just 26 minutes in total, which is a far cry from Westbrook and George playing almost entire game. Assuming Oklahoma City can get all three of their stars on the same page and playing well, then they have a good chance to cover their spread and possibly even win a tough road game.

Oklahoma City ATS Record: 2-3 in first-round playoffs series; 0-2 on the road

Why Utah Jazz Will Cover +5.5

jazz-thunder-playoffs-game-6-oddsThe Utah Jazz are still trying to figure out what happened after they got such a big lead and were on the verge of advancing to the second round.

Jae Crowder was particularly good in this contest, scoring a playoff career-high 27 points. Donovan Mitchell added 23 points, while Joe Ingles chipped in 16.

The Jazz played well enough offensively to have closed out the series. But they didn’t get it done on the other end the court. Utah’s Post players, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, got into foul trouble in the second half. And the Jazz never looked the same after that as they gave up basket after basket.

“We stopped playing defense,” Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said. “We stopped getting back. Our offense got stagnant. They made adjustments and we didn’t make the right adjustments back. We will watch the film and figure out what went wrong, but from my analysis right after the game, we just stopped getting back in transition and they just fed off of that.”

Gobert, a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, picked up his fifth foul early in the third quarter. This robbed Utah of their shot-blocking presence and made team defense more difficult.

“It’s a different feeling when you don’t have big fella back there,” Mitchell said. “It’s hard that we put all the pressure on him. We have had success but eventually it’s not going to work and we have to play better defense as guards ourselves.”

To be realistic, the Jazz could’ve won the series in five games and should be preparing to face the Houston Rockets. But as it stands, they must win at least one more game within the next two contests.

This is very possible as long as they keep Gobert on the court. That said, the Jazz just need to stay out of foul trouble and keep doing what they already are.

Jazz ATS Record: 3-2 in first-round playoffs series; 2-0 at home

Final Thoughts on Utah and Oklahoma City Odds

The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off an emotional win, where Westbrook and George really stepped up. Now they head out on the road to face a Jazz team that’s been out-playing them throughout much of the series.

Utah doesn’t have the headlining stars that the Thunder do. But they’ve really come together this season to exceed expectations. They were on their way to blowing out Oklahoma City in Game 5. I don’t see this being too much outside the bounds of happening in Game 6.

Final Score Prediction: Utah wins 104-97 – the Jazz cover their -5.5 spread

Cavs vs. Pacers Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Betting

cavs-pacers-2018-playoffs-oddsThe Cleveland Cavaliers are now firmly in control of their first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. They have LeBron James to thank for their 3-2 series lead. He provided the heroics in Game 5 after blocking Victor Oladipo’s shot and hitting a last-second three-pointer.

The Pacers were in control early with a 2-1 series lead. But they’ve since relinquished their lead and now face elimination on their home court.

Can Indiana win to even up the series and force a deciding seventh game? Find out as I look at the odds and discuss both teams chances of covering and winning. Also note that you can wager on this game at GTBets.

Cavs Pacers Odds – Game 6 of First Round Playoffs Series (April 27 at 5:05pm)

  • Cleveland +1 (-110) / -104 moneyline
  • Indiana -1 (-108)/ -118 moneyline
  • Over 204 (-108)
  • Under 204 (-110)

Why Cleveland Will Cover +1

lebron-james-cavs-pacers-2018-playoffs-oddsCleveland didn’t have an ideal regular season, finishing 50-32 and earning the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. But many expected that they’d easily get past the Indiana Pacers since they swept them last year.

That hasn’t even been close to the case so far. Cleveland has either surrendered huge leads or had to claw back from big deficits. The latter was the case in Game 5, because they were down by 7 points at halftime.

The Cavs controlled the third quarter by outscoring Indiana 32-17. But then they let the Pacers back into the contest and needed James’ three-point shot to win in the end.

It’s fitting that LeBron saved Cleveland, considering that he’s averaging 34.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and 8 APG in this series. He’s gotten decent contributions from teammates like Kevin Love (11.8 PPG, 10.4 RPG) and Kyle Korver (9.8 PPG). But the consistency hasn’t been there for the entire team, and they don’t have a true No. 2 scoring option.

Nevertheless, it seems that LeBron has been all they’ve needed to get close victories. He scored 44 points to help Cleveland win Game 5 in the Q. And he poured in 32 points to help the Cavs to a 104-100 victory in Game 4.

The Cavs now have the lead and two chances to eliminate a club that James has vanquished many times in the past. If they can get any extra help for LeBron, then they can win Game 6. All eyes are on Love, who’s been held to single digits in two of the five contests so far.

Cavs Playoffs ATS: Cleveland is 1-4 ATS in this series, including 1-1 on the road. They have a terrible home ATS record this season (12-27-2) but have been more consistent on the road (18-22-1).

Why Indiana Will Cover -1

cavs-pacers-2018-playoffs-bettingIndiana may not be leading this series, but the numbers are on their side. They’ve gone 5-4 against Cleveland this season. The Pacers also have stronger team defense (104.2 PPG allowed vs. 109.9 PPG) and a decidedly better turnover margin (21.2 vs. 17.2).

Nate McMillan has done a good job coaching this squad. In fact, Indiana is easily the biggest surprise of the 2017-18 season.

One big reason for their success is the play of Victor Oladipo, who’s become an All-Star after middling seasons in Orlando and Oklahoma City. He leads the Pacers in the series with averages of 20.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 5.2 APG.

But they’re going to need him to play better than he has in the last two contests. Oladipo is just 10-for-30 from the field and 4-of-16 from three-point range in this spin.

The good news for Indiana is that, unlike Cleveland, they can count on consistent contributions from non-star players. Bojan Bogdanovic is scoring 14.8 PPG in this series, while Myles Turner is averaging 13.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG.

Assuming Oladipo can get hot again, and Turner and Bogdanovic continue playing well, then Indiana has a good chance to win this game and extend series.

Indiana Playoffs ATS: The Pacers have surprised many, including myself, in this series. They’re 4-1 ATS in this so far, including 1-1 ATS at home. They’ve exceeded expectations all year with a 47-35 ATS mark, including a 24-17 ATS home record.

Final Thoughts on Cavs Pacers Odds

Indiana has certainly been a feel-good story for the season. A team that most experts picked to finish in the lottery, this squad rose to the fifth seed and has pushed Cleveland further than anybody expected.

The Cavs, on the other hand, have yet to play up to their capabilities. James can never count on a good sidekick on a nightly basis. Considering how subpar Cleveland has played throughout the series, they haven’t put it all together yet. But I can see this happening in Game 6, especially if starting point guard George Hill (back) returns to the lineup.

Final Score Prediction: Cleveland wins 99-95 – Cavs cover +1 spread.

Celtics vs. Bucks Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Betting Game 6

Many wondered how the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics would perform in their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks. After all, they lost point guard Kyrie Irving for the remainder of the postseason to a knee bacterial infection.

Everything seems to be going well for the undermanned Celtics right now. They won Game 5 by a score of 92-87, giving them a 3-2 lead as they head to Milwaukee.

As for the Bucks, they’re now facing elimination despite having a relatively healthy squad. And star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo noticeably struggled in the last contest.

The good news for Milwaukee, though, is that Boston hasn’t won a road game yet. Therefore, the Bucks have the perfect chance to win and force a deciding Game 7 contest.

I’ll discuss the odds of Milwaukie winning Game 6. You can also see the betting odds for this game below. And keep in mind that you can wager on Milwaukee vs. Boston at GTBets.

Bucks Celtics Odds – Game 6 of First-Round Playoff Series (April 26 at 8:05pm)

  • Boston Celtics +5 (-109) / +170 moneyline
  • Milwaukee Bucks -5 (-105)/ -211 moneyline
  • Over 199.5 (-113)
  • Under 199.5 (-105)

Why Boston Celtics will Cover +5

boston-celtics-bucks-game-6-2018-oddsBoston is far from the team that started the season with All-Stars Irving and Gordon Hayward. It only took 5 minutes into the season opener for Hayward to break his ankle and be sidelined for the season. Irving noticeably struggled with his knee down the stretch and was finally ruled out by doctors.

The good news for Brad Stevens’ squad is that the remaining talent is still capable of winning a playoff game. Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Jalen Brown, and Jayson Tatum are all solid players who’ve stepped up.

But no player may be more key to Boston’s cause than Marcus Smart. Having been out for six weeks with a thumb injury, Smart finally made it back onto the floor for Game 5. The difference was noticeable, especially on the defensive side.

Boston plays better overall defense when they have Smart hustling and diving for loose balls. He plays a great all-around game, as evidenced by the fact that the 6’4″ guard blocked three shots.

But Smart wasn’t the only hero in this game. Stevens went with a small lineup that involved inserting Semi Ojeleye in place of Aaron Baynes. The moved worked out well, with Ojeleye playing good defense on Antetokounmpko.

The Celtics also have some good history on their side. 29 NBA teams have won at least one playoff series since 2002. The only team that hasn’t is the Milwaukee Bucks. Therefore, this team must overcome a mental block to advance past the first round for the first time in 17 years.

More good news for Boston is that they’ve shot 130 free throws in this series. Milwaukee, meanwhile, has only attempted 100. This makes sense when considering that they’ve out-fouled the Celtics 124-94. If Boston can keep getting these extra opportunities to score and keep the Bucks in foul trouble, then they have a strong change to win and advance.

Why Milwaukee Bucks Will Cover +6.5

boston-celtics-bucks-odds-game-6-2018-bettingGiannis Antetokounmpo certainly hasn’t been a letdown this series, averaging 25.4 PPG on 60.5% shooting. But he didn’t play up to his standards in the Game 5 loss. He took only 10 shots (third lowest of entire season) and wasn’t as aggressive as usual.

Antetokounmpo still finished with a near triple-double (one assist short) and helped keep the contest close. But he was his harshest critic after the loss.

“Game 6, I’ve got to come out and be more aggressive,” he said. “It’s on me. I had open shots, but they weren’t my shots so I didn’t feel comfortable taking them. … I’ve got to be more aggressive, make more plays because definitely, my teammates need me.”

Stevens was pleased with their defensive effort against Antetokounmpo, which took an entire team and a healthy Smart to accomplish.

“Giannis is a heck of a player,” said Stevens. “You’re not going to be perfect against him. You’re not going to hold him down by any means. He makes plays for other people, he’s very unselfish … but we just felt like we needed a little bit more ball pressure overall, and so that was the decision to go smaller.”

Chances are that Antetokuompo won’t sit back and let his teammates take all the opportunities this time around. Expect him to be much more aggressive in driving to the basket and looking for shots.

He and the Bucks have performed well in elimination games in recent years. They went down 3-0 to the Chicago Bulls in 2015, but stormed back to win the next two games and make it a series (they lost in six games). Milwaukee also took Toronto to the brink in Game 6 of last season’s first-round series, before finally letting their lead slip in the waning minutes.

Another thing that the Bucks can hang their hats on is the fact that they’ve outscored Boston 520-519 so far. The games haven’t really been all that close, with each team leading by at least 16 in the last four contests. But the overall point total shows that the Bucks are capable of winning Game 6 for sure.

Final Thoughts on Boston and Milwaukee Odds

Boston played a great defensive game against Milwaukee at TD Garden. But I have trouble seeing them replicate this on the road, especially since they have yet to win at the Harris Bradley Center. I feel that their outstanding defensive performance last timeout was due to the emotional lift from Smart’s return.

Milwaukee was thoroughly figured out in Game 5. But now they have time to plan and prepare to deal with what Boston threw at them. I don’t see Milwaukee winning by a big margin, though. Instead, they’ll eek out a close victory and extend the series.

Final Score Prediction: Milwaukee wins 97-94 – Boston covers +5 spread

Steph Curry Is “Not Going to Play Anytime Soon”

steph-curry-knee-injury-returnGolden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry has been out of action since late October with a sprained left MCL. The Warriors are hoping that he can return soon, because they’re in the midst of a playoff run. But head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t think that his star guard will be on the court any time soon.

“Steph’s not going to play anytime soon,” said Kerr. “He’s coming along well. He looked good in practice. I talked to him this morning. He’s feeling healthy, getting better. He still has a few limitations that he’s trying to work through, but no pain. I think he’s on track. I can’t put a timetable on it, but I think he’s coming along really well.”

SFGate.com reports that Curry had his Grade 2 sprain looked at on Friday and will be evaluated again next Friday (April 29). The earliest he could return to the starting lineup is a Game 7 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. Of course, this is assuming that the Warriors even need seven games to beat San Antonio. They’re currently leading the series 3-1.

The other likely scenario is that he returns in time for the Western Conference semifinals matchup. Golden State would play the New Orleans Pelicans if they finish off this series against the Spurs.

Curry Working Out and Looking Like He’ll Soon Return

golden-state-steve-kerrWhile Kerr doesn’t sound optimistic about Curry returning, the All-Star guard’s practice habits indicate otherwise. He’s been traveling with the Warriors for the past two road games. More importantly, he’s actually practicing and working hard.

Reports indicate that Curry was shooting three-pointers, driving to the hoop, shooting floaters, and making cuts during a recent team workout. All of this indicates that he could be back at some point in the near future.

Alvin Gentry Doesn’t Think Curry Will Miss Much Time (Update)

alvin-gentry-warriorsNew Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry knows a thing or two about the Warriors and Steph Curry. After all, he was their top assistant coach during the 2015 championship run.

And he thinks that Curry will be back sooner than later. And when Curry is on the court, Gentry sees him performing just fine.

“I don’t know a lot about it,” said Gentry. “I know Steph. If there is any way he can play he will play, and I kind of laughed at the people that say, ‘Well, he is going to be a little bit rusty.’ I want to tell them, just remember now, the last time he sat out seven games I think he came back and had 39 in the next game. So the rust doesn’t settle very good on Steph.”

The last time that Curry was forced to miss time during the playoffs was in 2016. He returned late in a second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers and helped his team to victory. Curry also played pivotal role in beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals.

It seemed that Golden State would win it all when they took a 3-1 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. But they became the first team to blow a 3-1 Finals lead.

Last season, Curry was healthy throughout the 2017 playoff run. And it resulted in a championship, as they defeated the Cavs in just five games.

Can Golden State Beat Houston with a Rusty Curry?

This is definitely looking far ahead, because we’re still in the first round. But many expect the Warriors to face off against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.

Houston had an outstanding season where they finished 65-19, which is the best record in the league. But many still think that Golden State has the edge on them when it comes to the playoffs.

The big question is if Curry will have any rust if these two teams meet in the Conference Finals. Assuming he does, it would give the Rockets a bit of an advantage in the series. But Curry will have an entire second-round series against the Pelicans to tune up for this potential matchup.

A lot still needs to happen before the Rockets and Warriors can meet. But pay special attention to how well Curry has rebounded from his injury and court rust. This could be a telling sign on if the Warriors can beat the Rockets and defend their championship.