The Rockets will return to Houston in a tough position. In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Golden State Warriors have taken a 2-0 lead after beginning the series on their home court.
In a controversial Game 1, the Rockets’ big three of James Harden, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon came up short, losing 104-100. Unfortunately, basketball was not the main focus of this close game.
The NBA announced that there were several missed calls against primarily the Rockets, including three in the final two minutes. Harden voiced his frustration after the game, particularly about close-outs on his shots that should have been called as fouls.
Game 2, though without controversy surrounding the refereeing, still ended in a Houston loss. Despite good performances from PJ Tucker and Clint Capela, who were non-factors the game prior, Golden State came out on top 115-109.
After going to six games with the Clippers, the Warrirors seem to be playing championship basketball once again. Through two games, Kevin Durant has averaged 32 points with Draymond Green almost averaging a triple-double.
While leading the team in scoring with 32 points per game so far, Harden’s shooting has not led to victories. Going 9-28 in Game 1 and 9-19 in Game 2, the MVP candidate hasn’t played very efficiently. Outside of Paul and Gordon, Houston’s supporting cast has not played well. If they want to have a chance at evening this series, Capela and Tucker, along the Austin Rivers and Gerald Green will have to step up.
Can Houston make this series competitive? There’s no reason they can’t. Houston and Golden State had nearly the same home records during the regular season, and both games have been close so far. The Rockets defense will have to do better in Game 3. This may be made easier by the finger injury Steph Curry suffered in Game 2.
While being down 0-2 is tough, it is not impossible to overcome. However, these Golden State Warriors are not just any team. Even the most legendary teams in NBA history couldn’t beat them four times in five games.
Houston had a great opportunity to win Game 1 and it is unfortunate that the game wasn’t called as it should’ve been. The Rockets could pull off a win or two at home, but the Warriors are overall the better team.
Are the Rockets done? Yes. While it won’t be a sweep, the team won’t be advancing to the Conference Finals this year.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.