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4) Houston Rockets
1) Golden State Warriors
There were controversy calls and no-calls, badly missed shots and missed easy shots. The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors series has that long grinding series feel.
Houston is looking to rebound after feeling like the refs were against them and Golden State is waiting for Stephen Curry to get going. Who will get there way, well here is the break down of Game 2.
Keys to the game
Staying true to their identity, Houston missed 33 three-point shots and still only lost by four points. Although it’s not expected of them to hold back on their three point shots, Harden needs to get back to penetrating and getting his teammates involved. Having Austin Rivers back (sick Game 1) should boost their offense as well but Chris Paul needs to be very aggressive.
On defense, they played pretty stout but they have to find a way to keep the ball out of Kevin Durant’s hands. Switching out defenders such as P.J. Tucker and Iman Shumpert will not only give them more fouls to spare but give Durant different looks. When going small, maybe using reserve Kenneth Faried might be wise for them due to the fact that he’s more mobile than NeNe Hilario.
For the Warriors, it’s simple, Stephen Curry needs to be more involved in the offense. When he gets going, the crowd does too. Getting points from the bench players such as Shaun Livingston and Andrew Bogut would be a big lift.
Defensively, Golden State knows that Harden won’t come back shooting that poorly so they have to defend the role players. It’s also imperative to keep Curry out of bad situations on defense. Forcing the role players to put the ball on the floor rather than posting up to shoot three-pointers can make them uncomfortable.
The x-factor for the Rockets is Clint Capela. The big man for the Rockets scored four points with six rebounds in the first game. Capela has to become more active on both ends of the floor. Knowing that he’s not your typical center who creates his own shot, Paul and Harden must continue to drive to the basket to put Capela in scoring opportunities.
The x-factor for the Warriors is Shaun Livingston. The tall point guard has a significant size advantage over all of the guards on Houston. If he’s able to take advantage and hit the 10-12 foot jumper, that will cause the Rockets to double or switch which will put them in a bad situation.
Prediction- Houston makes at least five more three-pointers than they made in Game 1 which will be the difference.