The Golden State Warriors have had quite a bit of time to themselves since they dusted off the Portland Trail Blazers in four straight games in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs. Will they suffer from some rust as they get onto the floor against the Utah Jazz in the first game of the conference semi-finals? This is obviously a good question, and we wonder if the Warriors will have a ready answer, in this game that begins at 10:30 PM ET at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Remember that at BetAnySports, you can place wagers while the action is in progress, using the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Ultra.
The Warriors have won seven of the last eight meetings, but it was hard to tell from the three encounters they had this season who would have an edge in the head-to-head series matchup, because of the fact that Utah was always missing key players. They are at relatively full strength at the moment, although Rudy Gobert, who hyperextended his knee in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers, is now nursing a sore ankle.
The Warriors will be without head coach Steve Kerr again; as you probably know, he suffers from complications caused by last year’s back surgery, and he is being examined this week. Although the general manager says that his problem is “fixable,” he has, for the time being, handed the reins over to Mike Brown, the former head coach of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the NBA playoff odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Warriors are sizable favorite:
Golden State Warriors -13
Utah Jazz +16
Over 206.5 points -110
Under 206.5 points -110
What was notable in the first round for Golden State was that Kevin Durant sat out two full games. In Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, he had 32 points and 10 rebounds, but they held them out of the next two with a calf injury, returning for 20 minutes of action in Game 4. So there may be a little bit of difficulty with continuity, although Durant has been working with the team during the so-called “rest’ period. And you have to make note of the contributions that JeVale McGee made in the series against Portland, as he played a little over 48 minutes and scored 39 points with nine blocked shots. Certainly the Warriors will need all of the beef they can muster up front to deal with Gobert.
BetAnySports patrons should remember that the Warriors are not only #1 in Offensive Rating in the NBA, they are #2 in Defensive Rating, and they did quite a job on Gordon Hayward this season, holding him to just 2-10 shooting and six points in the one game Heyward was healthy enough to play against them. But over his last four against Golden State, Hayward, Utah’s leading scorer and an All-Star performer, has hit only 26.7% of his shots.
This will be a game in which Golden State will most likely try to force a brisk pace, but Utah prefers to play at a crawl, as they were the slowest, most deliberate team in the NBA. They also allowed the second-fewest fast-break points, so that will be a challenge for the Warriors, who were tops in the NBA in that department.
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