The Rockets vs Warriors series has given us some good games, but down the stretch Golden State is proving they’re not here to mess around.
Twice the Rockets came close to winning games on the road, but twice they fell short and took hard losses back to back. As a result, the second round clash — a rematch of last year’s conference finals — goes to Houston with a big deficit staring James Harden and company in the face.
Houston seemed like a force to be reckoned with coming into the postseason, especially after knocking out the Utah Jazz in just five games, but going up against the Warriors has shown a different side. This team is absolutely capable of winning some games, if not the series, but they aren’t going to win last minute — they have to dominate.
To win against the Warriors, dominating from start to finish is a must. Golden State is talented enough to come back from practically any lead at any time against any team — Houston is not. The Rockets need the late shots in games to be officiated in a way that benefits them the majority of the time.
If not, like in Game 1, it leads to a stunning defeat.
Now down 2-0 in the series, the Rockets get a short break in play until May 4. They’re hoping that a time of rest can help them smooth the edges to their approach in this series.
In Game 1, the Rockets kept even for the first half and only lost the fourth quarter by three points. However, a small slip in the third was all the Warriors needed to get an edge and eventually come out with the victory.
The issues that have plagued the Houston Rockets are in how they start the first and the third quarters, respectively. Without a change there, this could be an easy two more wins for the Warriors and another trip to the Western Conference Finals.
What makes any improvements more difficult for the Rockets is that their starters are doing all they can do with some substantial help from Austin Rivers off the bench but it’s still not enough to out-do what Golden State can consistently produce.
Particularly when it comes to how the Rockets handle Game 3, it’s important that they do not let their emotions get the best of them. That’s when things can get sloppy and quickly turn loose and out of control.
And if you go down 3-0 against the Warriors, it’s much different than a 3-1 or 3-2 hole.