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Rockets Now on Brink of Elimination

Updated: .May 11, 2017

By Charles Jay

The Houston Rockets had a golden opportunity, and they let it slip through their hands. They could have beaten the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday to earn a chance to close out the series tonight at home. Instead, it is San Antonio which will seek a victory to move on to the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors. Game 6 of the West semi-finals will take place at 8:05 PM ET at the Toyota Center in Houston. America’s Bookie customers will have the opportunity to place wagers even after the game has tipped off, using two different “Live Betting” options in their sportsbook interface.

Houston had done a very good job of stepping up the pace in Game 4, coming away with a 125-104 victory. The possessions-per-48 minutes for that game was 98.9, but it came down all the way to 89.1 in Game 5, and that, at least on paper, would have been toward San Antonio’s favor. Houston and San Antonio scored 118 points in the first half anyway, though things got a lot more deliberate in the final session, as they were only 31 points scored. Then, in overtime, San Antonio took the initiative and came away with a 110-107 victory. James Harden committed four turnovers in the final quarter, as Houston lost a nine-point lead in the closing minutes.

Of course, Tony Parker is out of action for the Spurs, while Nene Hilario is not available for the Rockets. And there is another injury to report too, as we’ll detail in a moment.

In the NBA playoff betting odds posted on this game, Houston is the solid favorite:

Houston Rockets -6.5
San Antonio Spurs +6.5

Over 215 points -110
Under 215 points -110

The Spurs, who had started Dejounte Murray at point guard in the last couple of games, sat him down completely for Game 5, as Patty Mills got the starting nod and responded by hitting five out of a dozen shots from beyond the arc. Denny Green came alive with four triples and finished with 16 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge pulled down nine of San Antonio’s 18 offensive rebounds. There is an additional injury question for the Spurs in this one, as Kawhi Leonard, who had 22 points and 15 rebounds on Tuesday, twisted his ankle in the fourth quarter and did not play in the overtime. He is listed as questionable for this one, and if that ankle is really hurting, he could play, and conceivably be effective on offense, but it may affect is defense. And of course, we are talking about the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

Houston when after three-pointers even more than usual in Game 5, with 55.8% of their field-goal attempts coming from long-range. Head coach Mike D’Antoni went with only a seven-man rotation, and perhaps the effect of that will be felt here, as four of Houston’s five starters logged 40 minutes or more. San Antonio was obviously a lot more aggressive on the defensive end on Tuesday than they were in the game before that, but still, let’s not discount that as the Spurs took advantage of the depth in size that Houston obviously does not have, D’Antoni will go with a small lineup that yields a lot of offense, but at the same time yields a lot of baskets. Yes, we recognize that this game would have gone under the total had it ended in regulation, but we might expect that the Rockets will make an extra effort to push the pace, making Thursday night’s game a lot more like Tuesday’s first half, instead of the second half. Thus, we are going OVER the total of 215 points, as the Charles Jay/America’s Bookie Challenge continues on Thursday.

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