NBA Conference Final Update

THE NBA CONFERENCE FINALS UPDATE:
ROCKETS PUSH DUBS TO BRINK OF ELIMINATION IN THE WEST; CELTICS LOOK TO CLOSE OUT CAVS IN THE EAST TONIGHT

Just consider this factoid for just a moment: If we are to have a Cleveland Cavaliers versus Golden State Warriors Part IV in this year's NBA Finals, then the Cavs and Dubs must go a combined 4-and-oh SU (straight-up) the rest of this way in these ongoing NBA Conference Finals.

Impossible? Nah.

But gotta say it's a major hurdle for the two teams that have combined to win the league's last three titles and so desperation time has hit both organizations and who would have guessed that after G-State won Game 3 of its Western Finals against Houston by 41 points!

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

HOUSTON 98, GOLDEN STATE 94 - Rockets lead series 3-2; Game 6 is Saturday at 9 p.m. ET, TNT
Hey, folks, wasn't Golden State head coach Steve Kerr just a little bit snarky in his post-game comments following last night's Game 5 loss to the host Houston Rockets? Maybe instead of taking out some anger/frustration on the national media, Kerr should have explained why - for a second consecutive game - his veteran Warriors team looked out of whack at crunch time (the Dubs now have lost back-to-back 3- and 4-point games here) with turnovers a major problem (18 of 'em) and late-game poise missing altogether whether it was Draymond Green fumbling that last-second pass from Stephen Curry or the fact that a dude named Quinn Cook - not Curry or Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson - attempted (and missed) the single-most important shot in Golden State's season with 40 seconds to go.

Toss in the fact that the Rockets somehow managed to overcome a rotten game by megastar James Harden who missed all 11 of his three-point tries and finished 5-of-21 overall from the floor for only 19 points. Yes, some acrobatic triples by now-injured PG Chris Paul (20 points / 7 rebounds /6 assists) really energized Mike D'Antoni's squad and now we'll see if Paul gets "green-lighted" for Game 6 after suffering a right hamstring injury in the final moments on Thursday night.
The bottom line?

The defending champion Warriors are one loss away from having a catastrophic end to their 2017-18 regular season - keep in mind that Golden State was a better-than-2-to-1 betting favorite in this series (-220) and most sports books during the year had G-State as a 1-to-2 betting favorite to win it all … now someone needs to step up and save the day for the Bay Area squad and who's it gonna be?

Here's the 2018 playoff head-to-head matchups between the Warriors and the Rockets (all home teams in CAPS):

DATE WINNER SPREADLOSERSCORE
5-14Golden St+ 1.5HOUSTON119-106
5-16HOUSTON- 2Golden St127-105
5-20GOLDEN ST- 7.5Houston126-85
5-22Houston+ 8GOLDEN ST95-92
5-24HOUSTON+ 1Golden St98-94

 

NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru games of Thursday, May 24)
Here's the pointspread breakdown this post-season - we've only included the four teams that are playing in these conference finals:

TEAM WONLOSSPCT
Boston125.706
Houston96.600
Golden State77.500
Cleveland610.375

Note: NBA Playoff Betting Favorites are now 41-30-1 ATS (against the spread) for a .577 winning rate with two Pick 'Em games while heading into Game 6 of Celtics at Cavaliers tonight.


EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

CLEVELAND at BOSTON - Celtics lead 3-2; Game 6 is tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Let's put it this way: The Las Vegas oddsmakers don't believe that the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers will be history by the end of this evening; the Cavs are 7-point home betting favorites for this elimination game and we've heard all about how LeBron James has been masterful when his clubs face do-ot-die games (he's averaging 33.5 points per game in the 21 elimination games in his storied career) but what happens when it's someone other than James shooting the ball here tonight?

Can Kevin Love or Kyle Korver or J.R. Smith "save" the Cavaliers' season if need be? Hmm, not sure we'd want our last dollar on these prospects especially when you consider the Celtics have been a brilliantly balanced team this post-season and there's still a whole lotta life in the legs of rookie Jason Tatum (averaging a team-high 18.4 ppg this post-season in 17 games played) and Jaylen Brown (17.8 ppg in 16 playoff games).

The Celtics have a nothing-to-lose mentality here that could make 'em uber-dangerous in this spot but - then again - we're talking about a Boston team that's a crummy 2-5 ATS (against the spread) this post-season, so there!

Here's the 2018 playoff head-to-head matchups between the Cavaliers and the Celtics (all home teams in CAPS):

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-13BOSTON+ 1Cleveland108-83
5-15BOSTONPKCleveland107-94
5-19CLEVELAND- 7Boston116-86
5-21CLEVELAND- 6.5Boston111-102
5-23BOSTON- 1.5Cleveland96-83