Clippers vs Rockets Game 7 Betting: Can Houston close at Home?

houston-josh-smithOnly 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 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.

chris-paul-injury…But the Clippers are Amazing on the Road

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.

corey-brewerHouston’s Bench has stepped up, Clippers Bench sucks

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

Clippers look like Strong Contenders Again after Sterling Ban

clippers-favorites-againA few days ago, we discussed how difficult it would be for the Los Angeles Clippers to battle through the dark cloud hanging over their heads after Donald Sterling’s racist remarks. Later that day, they went on to lose Game 4 by a score of 118-97.

Okay, so not exactly the prediction of the year, given that they were playing a tough Golden State team on the road, in addition to the turmoil. But with threats of boycotts and questions of if Doc Rivers would return to the franchise next season, it didn’t look good for L.A.

Luckily, Adam Silver acted swiftly in handing down a lifetime ban to Sterling yesterday afternoon after the disgraced owner admitted that it was his voice on the tape. Additionally, he’ll be fined $2.5 million – the maximum possible by the NBA.

“The hateful opinions voiced by that of the man [on the tape] are those of Donald Sterling,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.” I’m personally distraught the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations.”

In addition to the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine, NBA owners will now vote to decide on whether Sterling should be forced to sell his team. Seeing as how 75% of the owners need to vote Sterling out, it’s almost a given that he’ll have to sell. Silver echoed this sentiment by saying, “I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him.”

It looks like justice will be served following Sterling’s embarrassing comments. And this already bodes well for the Clippers, who are looking like strong contenders for the Western Conference crown. This team played with a lot of emotion last night, en route to a 113-103 victory over the Warriors.

clippers-favorites-again-1With fans waving signs that read “We are One,” L.A. rode this support to the win, powered by DeAndre Jordan’s 25 points and 18 rebounds. Now the Clips are back in control of this series and they just need to win one more game to move on to the conference semifinals.

So with the cancer that is Sterling about to be gone, is L.A. a serious contender for the NBA title? We certainly wouldn’t count them out, especially now that they’re playing for themselves and their faithful fans.

More importantly, they could have home court advantage in the semifinals. Currently, the seventh-seeded Memphis Grizzlies are leading the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-2 in their series. Assuming Memphis can win at home, this would pit the Clippers against a team with less offensive firepower and see four out of a potential seven games played in L.A. So if you’re often interested in betting on the Clips, now could be the perfect time.

Of course, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. The key takeaway from all of this is that the NBA did the right thing in getting rid of a vile owner. And it’ll be interesting to see who wins the impending bidding war to buy the franchise, which is expected to sell for over $1 billion.