5 Keys for the Rockets to Win
*Photo via USA Today
The Houston Rockets are down one game against the Golden State Warriors as Game 2 is tomorrow at 9 pm on ESPN. The Rockets played well in Game 1, but ultimately lost. The winner of Game one's goes on to win the series 77 percent of the time, but there is still a chance that Houston can win the series.
Here are the five things that must happen in order for them to win.
1. James Harden must play like the MVP.
In order for the Rockets to win this series, Harden is going to have to outplay Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. In Game 1, Curry outscored Harden 34-28. Harden played well, but he may need to increase the load to match up to the offensive juggernaut. If harden outplays Curry, the Rockets have a chance.
2. Dwight Howard must control the paint.
Howard is going up against little competition in this series as he can dominate players, such as Andrew Bogut, David Lee, or Mareese Speights. He grabbed 13 rebounds in just 26 minutes before an injury affected his play. If Howard can get healthy and stay out of foul trouble, he can be effective in this series and help the Rockets win.
3. Perimeter Defense on the MVP.
The Warriors only made 10 three pointers in game one, but Curry made six of them. The Rockets are going to have to find a way to stop Stephen Curry. Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni are not great defenders and will struggle guarding Curry. With Klay Thompson on the floor as well this may be a difficult task for the Rockets, however, if they can contain Curry on the perimeter they have a great chance to win the series.
4. Bench play.
In Game 1, Warriors bench outscored the Rockets 34-27, led by Shaun Livingston with 18 points. Houston's starting five does not have the offensive firepower the Warriors' starting five have, so the Rockets bench is going to have to pick up the slack and contribute a lot more. If the Rockets bench can outscore the Warriors' in a few games, the Rockets can advance to the NBA finals.
In the Rockets last series, turnovers were a problem as they played sloppy throughout the series. The Warriors will make them pay with their transition three-point shooting if the Rockets continue to turn the ball over. They don't have a good point guard so it may be difficult, however, if they can control the ball and limit the Warriors extra possessions, they can come away with the series.
The Rockets are going to have to play damn near perfect to win the series, but if they can follow these guidelines it's possible that they will win the series. The most important key is to limit extra possessions for the Warriors because as they have shown all season, they are almost unbeatable when they have extra possessions. If the Rockets can do that, then they can win.
Game 2 is tomorrow on ESPN.