Playoff Preview: Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets v Oklahoma City Thunder
What was a hotly spectated contest between the two MVP candidates was a simple outcome in the end. OKC tried to match it with Houston on the offensive end and just couldn’t find the mustard to match what Houston had cooking
Even with their generational star Russell Westbrook ringing up the stats like they were going out of fashion, the Thunder just wasn’t able to compete with the well-coached style that Houston brings into every game.
The reason why Houston won, and the reason why (as I’ve written) Harden deserved the MVP over Westbrook, is simply that Harden is a team player. Harden facilitates his teammates making them better adding to the value coach D’Antoni is able to get out of his squad.
Either way, Westbrook has been a beast this season and truly put OKC on his back. Westbrook really needs to rethink his style of play, because if he continues playing the same was, he has about a snowball’s chance in hell of ever making a finals let alone contending for the title.
San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies
Well game 1 looked like a training run for the Spurs who looked like they won by at least 40. Fast forward a handful of games and we saw the series locked up at 3-3.
Memphis had rightly turned the series around after being thoroughly beat in the first two games in San Antonio.
Memphis’ style of play posed issues for the Spurs. They felt comfortable slowing the pace when many teams in this league always look to push the tempo.
With that said, it was no surprise to see the Spurs coming out on top. They had the better roster with the better coach and had the best player in the series. They basically had the NBA holy trinity right there.
San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets
I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the series I was most excited for. These two teams are battling it out for the right to face off against one of the best teams in NBA history, the Golden State Warriors (we’re all assuming the Warriors will beat the misfit Jazz or the dysfunctional Clippers).
Houston v San Antonio will bring with it two completely different styles of basketball.
Houston loves to run and gun and if it isn’t a three-pointer they’re scoring, they’re working it in the post for a layup. Houston loves to push the pace and keep their opponents thinking they’re in a 100m sprint.
Houston doesn’t mind it’s defensive lapses either. This team is built to score. Harden is at the heart of most attacks and has capable three-point shooters scattered around him. The talent of Williams, Gordon, Ariza and Beverley among others, really add that boost to the firepower the Rockets have on offer. Its no secret why the Rockets are happy to go toe to toe with teams offensively.
San Antonio on the other hand recently brought in Aldridge and Gasol who are looking more and more like they’re over the hill with each game. Luckily for them they work with old mate Greg Popovich who manages to squeeze ever ounce of talent from the young to the ageing athletes.
The Spurs are the epitome of cool, calm and collected old school basketball. They’ve built their presence around their defence and have very capable mid-range shooters.
A mid-range shot in Houston is about as taboo as hooking up with your girlfriend’s sister. But we’ll move on. San Antonio love to slow the game right down.
Whoever wins the first quarter of the games in this series will have a larger than usual impact on the outcome of the game as they’ll be able to dictate the style of play for as long as possible playing to their own strengths.
At Oddschecker, we love the Spurs. They’re a classy talented franchise who although aren’t the biggest fish in the pond, always manage to find themselves in the top tier of talent. Kind of like how we think of ourselves here at Oddschecker.
Unfortunately in this instance, Houston’s style of play will be too much for the Spurs. The Spurs have been preparing for a series with the Warriors all season. Popovich and co knows that the Warriors style of play is an Achilles heel for this Spurs outfit. The Rockets play very much the same way as the Warriors. This could prove to be a sneaky deciding factor in the outcome of this series.
The Spurs will try to slow it down but when the Rockets string together a couple of threes and a break away two pointer, it’ll be hard for the Spurs to keep up.
NBA Series bet: Houston Rockets 4-3 (v San Antonio)
By Nik Hatzi