The Houston Rockets will aim to save their season when they host the Golden State Warriors in a crucial Game 3 on Saturday.
The Warriors lead the NBA Playoff series 2-0, and the defending champions are heavy favorites to make the conference finals. They won both their home games, and it is on the Rockets to make the most of their home matches. Game 1 finished with a 104-100 scoreline in favor of the Warriors, and it was a close game. Kevin Durant starred in that game, scoring 35 points. The Rockets and James Harden complained about the officiating, especially about how defenders were closing Harden’s shot.
Harden has shot three-pointers at a historic rate this regular season. One of his tactics is to draw fouls on contested threes, which makes the defenders wary. Klay Thompson especially guarded him carefully, and Harden though that some fouls were not given on three-point attempts. Steve Kerr has done a great job in containing Harden. He has not been able to get into the paint a lot. His attempts at the rim have decreased from 20% in the regular season to just 14% in this series.
Game 2 was a bit more easy for the Warriors, and they claimed a 115-109 victory. Harden suffered an eye injury in the game, and he has not yet recovered fully from it. Chris Paul has been great, playing a good second fiddle to Harden. He has averaged 17.5 points, five assists, and three steals in the first two games. Despite his two stars performing well, coach Mike D’Antoni will want more from Clint Capela and P. J. Tucker. He could move Tucker to center and bring Austin Rivers in to start, which would demote Capela to the bench.
The Warriors have been impressive, and DeMarcus Cousins’ injury has not affected much. Andre Iguodala started Game 2 for them, as Steve Kerr used the ‘death lineup’ from the off. He contributed some good minutes, especially on the defensive end. Steph Curry has not been at his best, and neither has Klay Thompson. But Kevin Durant has been present to take the offensive load.
Durant is averaging 32 points, five rebounds, and 3.5 assists so far in the series while shooting 41.7% from beyond the arc. Houston has a match-up problem, and no one has been able to stop Durant. Tucker has been the best of the bunch, but the Rockets need a better solution to slow down the Warriors’ offensive weapon. They need to better defensively in general, as the Warriors shot 46.2% in Game 2 from the field.
Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors Prediction
It’s now or never for the Rockets, and going 0-3 down will surely spell the end of their season. James Harden should step up in front of his home fans, and the Rockets should clinch the win. Capela has to be better for the Rockets, and he will be healthy heading into Game 3. The Rockets should put themselves on the board with a win in Game 3, despite the best efforts of the Warriors.
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