For the first time since 2013-14, the Golden State Warriors have lost two straight opening-round playoff games. After a highly impressive showing from the Sacramento Kings at home over the first two games, the Warriors will be heading back to Oakland Arena looking to work their way back in the series. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’ll be targeting a first-half play in this one.
Draymond Green is the only player in NBA over the last ten seasons to be suspended more than once in the postseason. This season when the Warriors were without Draymond Green, they were 3-6, but the good news for Golden State is that they are finally back in their home arena.
Golden States' struggles on the road were well documented throughout the regular season. Still, something about the Warriors makes it seem like everything will suddenly change when they get to the playoffs. That has not been the case, as their NET rating of (-5.7) through the first two games is ranked 12th out of 16 playoff teams.
In no way is this discrediting what the Kings have been able to do through the first two games. For a team that finished the regular season ranked 24th in defensive efficiency rating, the Kings have come out and put up a 109.6 defensive rating so far in the series, which is 7th out of the 16 playoff teams.
Sacramento’s ability to challenge the Warriors from three has been impressive. Golden State got 41.9% of their points in the regular season, the highest percentage in the league. However, through two games, the Kings are holding the Warriors to a 32.2% three-point percentage which has Sacramento ranked 4th amongst playoff teams in that category.
Golden State has also done a good job of challenging the Kings from three, but Sacramento has adjusted better by increasing their paint scoring. Sacramento had 60 points in the paint in game one and 54 in game two, which has the Warriors ranked 15th out of 16 in terms of points in the paint allowed per game. The interesting factor tonight will be who Steve Kerr calls upon to fill Draymond Green’s minutes and how they can adjust their interior defense.
The Warriors' first-half spread can currently be found at (-3), depending on the sportsbook, and I’ll be taking that as my play in this one. Similar to why I took the Bucks 1H spread last night, the Warriors know they need to come out aggressive from the tip, and the fact they are back at home is even better.
Golden State was 21-20 ATS in the first half when playing at home this season. During the regular season, the Warriors had a 1H NET rating of (-2.3) which was 16th in the league, but at home, they had a (5.3) NET rating which ranked 9th. Golden State was also in the top six in the league for first-half effective field goal percentage (57.5%) and true shooting percentage (60.1%) when playing at home.
Defensively, the Warriors also had a big spike in 1H numbers when at home, as they were 28th in 1H opponent three-point percentage and 15th in opponent points in the paint on the road, but when at home, they ranked 6th and 11th in those categories. Golden State has too much veteran presence and playoff experience not to come out on a different level tonight.
Golden State Warriors 1H (-3) (Would play up to -4)