By: Kylan Watson
The Golden State Warriors were riding high after destroying the Houston Rockets in Game 1 on Monday night. However, the Warriors did not experience the same result on Wednesday night, the Rockets responded very well in Game 2. They were able to use ball movement and capitalize off some momentum killing turnovers to rout the Warriors, by a score of 127-105. This match-up is now a competitive series after the Rockets were able to rebound, and now Golden State must respond on Sunday evening.
The Rockets got off to a hot start from the opening tip-off, they used some very effective ball movement to take advantage of the Warriors defensive miscues. The Rockets were able to get wide-open shots and get some easy opportunities in the paint as well. The Rockets had a 14-point lead heading into half-time.
The Rockets hit 16 three-pointers against one of the best defenses in the NBA. The players that benefitted the most from the Rockets hot shooting were Guard, James Harden and Forward, PJ Tucker.
Harden scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Harden was a playmaker for the Rockets offense, he hit some big shots for them, and created opportunities for his teammates to get involved in the game.
Tucker was a beneficiary of Harden’s unselfish play, Tucker scored 22 points, and grabbed seven rebounds. Tucker also made five three-point shots and only missed one shot during this game.
Coach Mike D’Antoni made some big adjustments to help his team get a victory in Game 2. One of the biggest adjustments he made was getting away from isolation plays. The Rockets relied very heavily on isolation plays in Game 1 and that made them easier to defend.
In Game 2, D’Antoni’s offense featured ball movement, a very rare feature of the Rockets offense. Most coaches would not make such a substantial change in the playoffs. However, D’Antoni took a gamble and his team made him look like a genius. D’Antoni must continue to adjust his game-plan if he wants to beat the Warriors.
The Warriors have now been punched in the mouth by the Rockets and must respond if they want to avoid being in a 2-1 hole. The Warriors were not able to put together a satisfactory performance in Game 2, but they should get better results with both games three and four taking place at Oracle Arena.
The one adjustment Steve Kerr may need to make is finding a way to get Steph Curry involved in the game early. Curry has had a quiet series so far, and its up to Kerr and his teammates to put Curry in a position to affect the outcome of the game.
The Western Conference Final is now officially a series, and that was very much in doubt after Game 1. However, the Rockets responded and now the Warriors must respond and adjust to D’Antoni’s adjustments in Game 3 on Sunday, May 20th, 2018 at 8:00 pm EST.