How the Rockets Can Blast Into the Next Round
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We finally had a winner from the San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Clippers series, that being the Clippers. The Rockets are coming off a four to one series win over the Dallas Mavericks in which we saw how dangerous they can be, however they are now facing a tougher foe this round. For the Rockets to assure moving on there are five key things they need to focus on. 1. Bench scoring
The Rockets have one of the worst benches in the league all season, with the Clippers being just one place behind them in this category. Which bench shows up and can provide solid, positive minutes on the floor will be a huge plus for the Rockets. Since the playoffs began the Rockets bench has seen a bump in production mainly behind that of Josh Smith and Corey Brewer who have really grown into their roles.
The Rockets are a mid level rebounding team, but are facing a Clippers team that besides Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan struggle at times rebounding. The amount of second chance points the Rockets can develop by hitting the glass harder than the Clippers will be another key.
3. Free throw shooting
Both of these teams were in the bottom four for shooting free throws in the league. These points will be crucial for both sides, but if the Rockets can get Dwight Howard to increase his makes. While Josh Smith, who is likely to see increased minutes can deliver at the line, it makes the series that much harder for the Clippers to stay in the series.
4. Three point shooting
The Rockets all season have shot the most three pointers a game then any team. However, they are playing a Clippers team that was third in the regular season from behind the arc. Perimeter defense, which the Rockets have trouble playing will need to be shown in this series. The Clippers have already struggled from deep this postseason, if the Rockets can force some early misses they might be able to keep that going and take away part of the Clippers offense.
The Rockets averaged 15.9 turnovers per game, which was 28th in the whole association during the regular season. The Clippers are known for running the break and finishing them off with emphatic dunks. The Rockets are going to need to focus on taking care of the ball, something that they did very poorly a series ago.
The Rockets don’t play stellar or even average defense, the little things that come with playing basketball are what will decide who walks away a winner in this series.