Thursday, April 25

Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz, 10 am
Rockets -8

Houston Rockets

Despite two relatively poor road performances, the Rockets return home with a very solid 3-1 lead. James Harden looked somewhat better this time around, nailing 6 3’s en route to 30 points and 4 assists. Chris Paul also enjoyed a very well-rounded statline, going for 23 points, 8 boards, and 7 assists. Houston will need better from Clint Capela in game 5, with the big man having just 4 points on 1 made field goal.

Utah Jazz

It would’ve been harsh to see a Jazz side that had another very strong season get swept in the first round. They played easily their best game of the series in game 4, beating Houston by 16 points. Donovan Mitchell was again the offensive leader, pouring in 31 points and 7 rebounds. 23 points from Jae Crowders was also very valuable, as was double-doubles from Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and Royce O’Neale.

Prediction: Rockets -8

Ultimately, I think Houston have proved that they are comfortably the better side in this matchup. Utah struggles to score reliably on them and I don’t see that changing here on the road. If Harden can get back to his best, the Houston offence shouldn’t have much trouble with Utah here. Laying 8 points, I expect Houston to be very motivated to close this one out.

Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers, 12:30 am
Warriors 1st Half -7.5

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors had another solid win in Los Angeles in game 4, also giving them full control up 3-1. Kevin Durant led the way offensively in this one, going for 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Klay Thompson also had a hot shooting night, dropping 32 points and 6 made 3’s of his own. Steph Curry also put up a double-double but he’ll be looking for a few more points in this one.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers again fought valiantly in game 4, but it just hasn’t been enough to overcome the huge talent gap. Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was particularly solid, dropping an efficient 25 points to lead all Clippers. Lou Williams was an inefficient 2-10 from the field and he’ll definitely need to be back to his best if the Clips are to force an upset.

Prediction: Warriors 1st Half -7.5

The Warriors are desperate to close this one out here and rest up for the conference semis. They’ve got a huge matchup advantage over this Clippers side, particularly in their starting lineup. I expect them to get off to a fast start in this one and maintain their lead throughout. While they might be vulnerable to a late backdoor cover, they look pretty solid odds to cover the first half line.