As the Rockets and Warriors traded blowouts in games 1 and 2, It’s Golden State who thrashed Houston to take a 2-1 lead in the conference finals.
While the conference finals have yet to see a close game, this series has had its fair share of blowouts. In Game 1 it was the Warriors winning by 13 in Houston. Meanwhile, the Rockets responded at home, winning by 22 while splitting the series at home. However, the Rockets were shown up at Oracle by the defending champs, getting blown out by 41 points.
In fact, Houston’s superstars were barely present, with James Harden only scoring 20 points, and CP3 going 5-16 from the field. Houston’s bench failed to reproduce their stellar performance from Game 2 and the Warriors took no chances. Now Harden and the Rockets must respond if they expect this to be a competitive series once again. In fact, only 11 teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit. One of those teams, if you recall, was the 2015 Houston Rockets against Chris Paul and the L.A. Clippers.
However, Houston may have a problem. It’s quite possible that two-time MVP Stephen Curry may have just found his rhythm. Curry blew up for 35 points, 18 in the third quarter, while knocking down 5 3-pointers. Kevin Durant added 25 points of his own and it was routine business for the Warriors.
Despite the greatness of the Warriors, the Rockets indeed looked “soft” as coach Mike D’Antoni put it. Now it’s up to the Rockets to put up their response and get a different result in order to make this a series. While many are doubting Houston’s chances in this series, the Rockets must believe in themselves and ignore the noise surrounding them.
Keys to a Rockets victory include better efficiency offensively, better communication on defense, and overall better team spirit. Also important is the ability to adjust. Houston needs to ramp up the defensive effort, especially against Curry and Durant. Another key is poise and toughness. Houston can’t allow Golden State to get in their heads. Finally, the entire Rockets squad has to show up. Another subpar performance from the bench will lead to more work on Harden and Paul. In particular, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and P.J. Tucker are the guys who need to step up.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain. Houston’s season comes down to Game 4. Basically, Game 4 is Houston’s Game 7.
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