Golden State Warriors are in Houston for game two of their best of seven series with the Rockets. The Warriors stunned the Rockets in game one as they used a big second half to upset the Rockets on their home court and take a one game to none series lead. For game two the Rockets are -1-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 225.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from the Toyota Center in Houston.
Wow. That’s all I can really say about game one of this series between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. The Warriors absolutely made a statement in game one that they are not at all afraid of playing in Houston. This is the series we have all been gearing up for all season long, and after one game, it looks like it might be just about over.
If Houston were to lose tonight and go down two games to none on their home floor, you can pretty much just call this series. It is going to be hard enough for the Rockets to overcome the fact that they no longer have home court advantage. If they find themselves down two games and having to play the next two games on the road, it would likely be too much of a task to ask.
James Harden, Chris Paul, and Mike D’Antoni. All three of these guys have had prolific success during the regular season and have struggled badly in the playoffs. Harden couldn’t win in OKC when he had fellow MVP’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on his side. Paul has never won anywhere he has gone. And D’Antoni managed to waste a prime Steve Nash that was winning multiple MVP awards without winning in the playoffs.
This year felt different for Houston. It seemed like this collection of talent just fit perfectly together and with D’Antoni at the helm leading the way it felt like the year where the Rockets would break through and win. Now one game into this series they are fighting for their lives in a must-win scenario.
Game one was dominated by the Golden State offense. They shot 52% from the field and nearly 40% from deep. They made thirteen threes and twenty-two free throws. They did pretty much whatever they wanted to do on the offensive end of the ball. And that was with Steph Curry having an off night.
The Dubs were led by Kevin Durant who exploded for thirty-seven points and Klay Thompson added in twenty-eight. Draymond Green continued to fill up the stat sheet as well as he poured in nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and two blocks. They put on a show in Houston and in the end, the game wasn’t even all that close as the Warriors won by double-digits.
For the Rockets, Harden and Paul both had solid games, but they didn’t get much from anyone else. Harden rolled up his normal stat line of forty-one points, and seven assists and Paul scored twenty-three and drug down eleven boards. The main problem for Houston was their lack of passing. The Rockets only had eighteen assists as a team and Paul, who normally flirts with double-digit assists, only managed three on the night. The Rockets will need Paul to run the offense much more efficiently tonight if they stand a chance tonight.
The Rockets have to win tonight. Period. And they know it. If they are ever going to put up a fight and get back into this series, it will be tonight at home. For that reason, I expect to see the best Houston team we have seen all year long. When their backs are against the wall, you can expect them to pull out all the stops. The Warriors already did what they needed to do in Houston, they stole home court advantage. They don’t have to win on the road again, and they know it.
This number opened at Houston -1.5-points and has now been bet down slightly to -1. The public is liking what they saw out of Golden State in game one, and they are backing them now. And understandingly so. But I am going to go the other way. Two days ago I, and just about everyone else, expected this to be an epic seven-game series. And now after one game everyone is essentially writing Houston off for dead. Well, not me.
I think the Rockets figure out some way to get the job done tonight and win the game. I’m not even completely sure how they will do it, but I just think they will find a way to gut it out. I’ll thank the public for saving me that half of a point in what is sure to be a nail-biter and I will take the Houston Rockets at home -1 point!