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Free Daily Sports Picks: Can the Warriors Compete Without Durant?

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Oskeim Sports previews Friday’s NBA Playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.  Oskeim recommends taking the Warriors plus the points as one of his free daily sports picks.

Golden State will be without Kevin Durant for the remainder of this series after he suffered a calf injury in the third quarter of Game 5. Durant’s injury has caused some pundits to write Golden State’s obituary and the betting market has overreacted to the injury news.

However, the analytics paint a far different picture altogether, one that suggests that the Warriors are better off in this series without Durant.

The Warriors have played 40 games over the last three seasons without Durant. Many would be surprised to learn that Golden State us 30-10 SU and 22-18 ATS in those games. More importantly, the Warriors are 29-4 SU and 21-12 ATS in 33 games without Durant, but with Curry healthy. Golden State covered the point spread by 4.3 points per game in those contests.

Golden State has played a total of 63 minutes without Durant on the floor this postseason. The Warriors have posted an Offensive Efficiency of 116.7 points per 100 possessions with a 53.6% eFG% and a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in those 63 minutes.

With Durant on the floor, the Warriors have a 109.4 Offensive Efficiency (per 100 possessions) with a 52.3% eFG% and a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in the 2019 playoffs.

In four games against the Rockets without Durant, but with Curry, the Warriors are a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS, covering the point spread by 5.3 points per game. In short, Golden State is Steph Curry’s team that excels with elite ball movement.

During the 2018-19 regular season, Golden State averaged 320 passes per game. Prior to Durant arriving in Oakland, the Warriors averaged 315.5 passes per game.

Golden State has averaged just 278 passes per game in this series due to Durant’s ISO and post-up possessions, which impairs the Warriors’ ball movement (and, by extension, their offensive efficiency).

The Warriors posted an impressive 145.5 offensive rating in the fourth quarter of Game 5 with Durant in the locker room.

There is no question that Golden State lacks the depth it possessed in previous championship runs. However, consider the fact that Shaun Livingston, Alfonso McKinnie, and Jonas Jerebko all have positive net ratings with Curry on the floor and Durant on the bench.

“We all looked at each other,” Curry said of his team after Durant went down with his injury. “There were a couple smiles in terms of what that meant for us as a team – the guys that were going to need to step up in those moments.”

Grab the points with the Warriors as one of Oskeim’s free daily sports picks for May 10.

Oskeim Sports’ Free Daily Sports Picks for May 10:

  • Golden State Warriors (+7.5) over Houston Rockets
  • Cincinnati Reds (-142) over San Francisco Giants