Only eight teams in history have come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Playoffs – and the Houston Rockets are looking to be the ninth. Houston seemed hopelessly lost while losing games 3 and 4 in blowout fashion to the L.A. Clippers. However, they’ve proven to be very resilient, coming back from a 19-point deficit in Game 6 to force one final game.
This is certainly bad news for the Clippers, who must now travel to Houston and try to win the series that they seemed to have in the bag after going up 3-1 in L.A. The good news: Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul are a perfect 3-0 in Game 7s. Furthermore, they’ve proven that they can win big road games, having done so twice in San Antonio during the first round.
The stage is set for one very intense final contest between these two teams. So let’s look at the Clippers vs Rockets Game 7 betting line, then discuss who has the advantage:
Game Time: Sunday (May 17th) at 3:30pm ET on ESPN
GTBets.eu Betting LIne:
L.A. Clippers -2.5 (-110) Over 219.5 (-110)
Houston (-110) Under 219.5 (-110)
It’s interesting that the Clippers are still favored on our betting line, despite the fact that they’re playing on the road. But are they deserving of the favorite billing – especially after losing a 19-point lead with just 14 and a half minutes left!? Let’s answer this question by looking at some key factors.
History favors the Rockets
If there’s one big thing going in Houston’s favor, it is the simple fact that almost 80% of home teams win Game 7s. Of course, it isn’t like Houston was the resounding number-two seed in the Western Conference; they earned this honor on the final day of the regular season in a scenario that tested the math buffs. But the simple reality is that the final game will be played at the Toyota Center, in front of the Rockets’ fans.
If there’s one team that is totally road-proof in these playoffs, it is definitely the Clippers. They won a franchise-record 26 road games – more wins than five NBA teams had total – and the two games they captured in San Antonio were while facing 2-1 and 3-2 deficits. It’s hard to discount home-court advantage and the 80% figure, but it’s even harder to look past this tough L.A. team.
…But History really hates the Clippers
The L.A. Clippers have been around for 45 years, and in those 45 years, they have NEVER reached the Western Conference Finals. Some might call this extra motivation for Griffin, Paul and Jordan to push their team past the Rockets tomorrow night; others might say that they’ll lose and the Clippers curse will continue. After all, this is a team that’s become accustomed to first and second-round playoff exits over the years – that is, when they’re not suffering through embarrassing regular seasons.
James Harden had one of his worst games of the season (5-for-20 shooting) and spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench with an illness. This gave way to Houston’s bench to provide some illness of their own, with Corey Brewer pouring in 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting, and Terrence Jones adding 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Mix in 19 points from unheralded starter Josh Smith, on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, and you can see why Houston was able to outplay L.A. down the stretch. On the other side, the Clippers bench once again had a horrid performance, shooting 6-for-22 from the floor.
Chris Paul is looking Healthy
On the bright side, Paul has looked good on the floor after missing the first two games of the series with a hamstring injury. He played exceptionally well in Game 6, hitting 10-of-19 from the floor and making 10 out of 11 free throws to total 31 points. Blake Griffin was also great, making 12-of-20 shots and scoring 28 overall. If they can keep up this torrid performance and actually get some bench scoring, then it’s going to be the Clippers advancing.
Final Score Prediction: L.A. 109 – Houston 105