Warriors v Rockets: Three things that will decide semi-final series

LA Clippers stay alive in NBA playoffs after shock win over Golden State Warriors to force Game 6

Numbers preview: Golden State Warriors (1) vs. Houston Rockets (4)

Game 2 is Tuesday night back at Oracle Arena.

It's a virtual certainty that either Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo or Houston's reigning MVP James Harden will win the coveted award this season. The Warriors are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 Sunday games, 10-22-1 ATS in their last 33 home games and 6-0 ATS in their last six games against a team above.600.

"Well, if we go to Finals, I think Draymond and Kevin are each on pace for about 42 technicals and six suspensions, so hopefully we can withstand that", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said jokingly, via ESPN. Just call the game the way it's supposed to be called, and we'll live with the results.

The Bucks were frustrated by Boston's defense; Milwaukee's 90 points represented its third-lowest total of the season. The Rockets want to limit the minutes Golden State's Death Eaters run wild.

While it's hard to suggest a player who has led the league in free-throw attempts six of the last seven years - some 4,127 foul shots over that span - is not getting a fair chance, Harden added that there's a danger involved in such closeouts. And Harden got to the line 14 more times against the Warriors on Sunday, but felt he should have been there more. 'It's been a year where things haven't gone exactly smoothly all the time so I'm not surprised by anything, but I expected us to come out and play better and win the game, Kerr told reporters afterwards.

Durant was actually called for three technical fouls in their series with the Clippers, though one in Game 3 was later rescinded by the league. They're the best team. "It's all about execution". Al Horford was fantastic on both ends in Game 1 against the Bucks, and the Celtics had walls of defenders around the rim it seemed on every drive by Antetokounmpo.

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Curry hurt his ankle when he took an awkward step while trying to guard Landry Shamet. The Bucks' starters shot 30 percent - 15 for 50 - in Game 1.

But they head into the next round knowing Houston have had much more time to prepare for the series.

Before the Warriors and Clippers went final on Wednesday night a futures investor could find the Houston Rockets carrying a +325 underdog price point in the assumed semifinal between the Dubs and the Roks.

Harden referenced the series-ending injury suffered by Kawhi Leonard in the San Antonio Spurs' Game 1 loss to the Warriors in the 2017 West finals, on which he landed on Zaza Pachulia's foot after shooting a jumper, as a reason referees need to be vigilant about enforcing the rule requiring 3-point shooters to have space to land.

PRESSURE IS ON: The referees. Shortly after the game, D'Antoni chastised the refs further, saying they admitted to some missed calls at halftime. Landing areas on 3-point tries will be a point of emphasis, for obvious reasons.

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