Takeaways From Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals
The Houston Rockets have evened the Western Conference Finals at 1-1. After a lackluster Game 1 in which the Golden State Warriors made it look easy, the Rockets came back with firepower and showed why we were excited for this series in the first place. Whether they admit it or not, Houston made some adjustments that the Warriors were not prepared for, resulting in a 127-105 blowout win for “Clutch City.” Here are some of the important things to takeaway as the series shifts to Oracle Arena.
The Rockets owned the “Iso-Ball” strategy during the regular season. They found themselves going late into the shot clock in each possession with either James Harden or Chris Paul doing an unnecessary amount of dribbling. This prevented them from getting quality looks at the basket. This style of play was wildly present in Game 1, but nowhere to be found in Game 2. There was little iso-ball, and with all the ball movement we saw some break out abilities for Houston’s role players. PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon combined for an explosive 49 points. When the Rockets swing the ball and get everyone involved, great offense happens. Shots were widely distributed amongst the five players on the court. Not only did Houston move the ball, they set the pace of the game with fast breaks and aggressive defense that resulted in 15 Golden State turnovers, primarily in the first half. Houston never hesitated to run their offense before the Warrior’s set its defense. The Warriors were not ready for the energy Houston brought to the table in Game 2 and they will need to regroup as the series shifts to Oakland.
Still No Answer for Kevin Durant:
Kevin Durant exploded for 38 points in Game 2. He had 37 in Game 1. It seems no matter who Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antoni puts in the game to guard him, KD will find a way to score. He shot 51% from the field in Game 1 and 59% in Game 2. Durant single-handedly kept the Warriors in the Game 2. One way or another, if the Rockets want to continue to compete in this series they will need to develop a defensive strategy to combat Durant.
Curry still not 100%:
Steph Curry still does not seem acclimated to the game after the Grade 2 MCL sprain that kept him on the sideline until the Western Conference Semi-Finals. He scored 16 points while shooting 36% from the field. The real problem is his trademark three-point shot. He shot just 1 for 8 from deep. Curry will be looking to have a big game as they head home to play Game 3.