Houston Rockets vs. Warriors: Three Game 2 tweaks that need to be made

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 08: Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 08: Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets played solidly but it still wasn’t good enough for them to take down their nemesis in the Golden State Warriors, falling 119-106 in Game 1.  Minor adjustments can be made to the game plan and here are three that I think should take place.  Let’s examine.

The Houston Rockets started out the game with guns a-blazing as they seriously pumped up to partake in what I hope will continue to be  competitive series.  When the team was up 12-4 with 9:08 left in the 1st quarter, I thought that we’d finally gotten over the hurdle of sluggish starts and playing catch up to get back into the game against the good teams.

For the most part, we’ve seen a lot of blowout games throughout the course of the season but something like that is not going to happen against the Golden State Warriors.  The Houston Rockets continued to fire away while the Warriors were like sitting ducks camouflaged in a ton of tall grass, waiting to escape from being completely poached.

Not to go to far in the detail with the simile that I used to describe their opponent but that’s exactly what they did.  The Houston Rockets essentially let the ducks get away and it’s not even funny, it’s a serious situation that needs to be fixed.

As we get ready approach Game 2 Wednesday, here are three things that the Houston Rockets need to adjust before the start:

1.)  Don’t have James Harden take so much of the offensive load.

The Houston Rockets are a team for a reason and although James Harden is the most important ingredient, the contents should not be spilled all over the place in hopes of putting together a successful concoction.

Don’t get me wrong, he had a terrific game putting up 41 points, seven assists and four rebounds but he shot 14-for-24 from the field.  With all of the offensive talent they have, he shouldn’t have to hoist up so many shots.

The Warriors are gunning for him and although the Rockets scored 1.67 points per off a total of 15 isolation plays, it demonstrates that still isn’t enough production to beat the Warriors.  The bread-and-butter method is to include as much shooters as you can — starters and bench — to keep the pace up high and to give the Warriors no choice but to try to annihilate the Rockets.

2.)  They need to hit their threes fast, often and better than the Warriors.

As you all noticed through the course of the game, things dramatically slowed down when the Rockets started to isolate Harden and Chris Paul more.  I’d like to see the pace picked up with the team hitting their threes — they were quite solid going 13-for-33 at a 39.3 percent clip — and the Warriors matched the amount of threes made but took a few more going 13-for-37 at a 35.1 percent clip.

The problem wasn’t that they weren’t hitting their threes but they need to make more of them

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and they need to DO IT OFTEN.  I want to see so many threes made I’d like the Warriors to think the Rockets are putting on their own 4th of July presentation two months early!  That’s what it’s going to take.  We already know the Warriors are good at this but the Rockets have got to better.

This can’t possibly work for every game but if they can wring enough out production from each of our specialists in Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, Ryan Anderson and to a certain extent, P.J. Tucker, I think that they’ll be fine to win Game 2 and carry that momentum out to the road.


Klay Thompson‘s 12 of his 28 points tonight were off four threes of the eight that he made that were extremely wide open.  I saw so much space between he and the closest defender, you’d think a oil tanker spanning the girth of the Houston Ship Channel could fit through the amount of space created.

That’s unacceptable and this is the easiest of the three things that I mentioned to fix.  I’m not asking for the Rockets to play 110 percent hard-nosed defense on every shot because that’s not possible.  They’re human and they get tired so it’s understandable.  But there’s nothing wrong with contesting those threes — just put a hand in front — make that defensive assignment earn it without having to exert a tremendous amount of energy.

That will certainly eliminate a lot of the grief that it takes to come from behind and try to win the game to which that’s going to be likely scenario if the team continues to allow those unacceptable open shots.

But all in all, the Houston Rockets just needed to be BETTER and EXCEL at everything that they do in order to take a game, let alone this series.  It can be done but on this current path, things are going to get wrapped up pretty quick for this team and it will be back to the drawing board.

Let’s hope that it’s not the case and we’ve got nothing to worry about.  But I’m afraid that’s not so, this is alarming and adjustments — like I mentioned — will have to be made.  And that’s all there is to it.

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The Rockets take on the Warriors Wednesday in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals at Toyota Center.  The scheduled tip-off is for 8 p.m. CDT.  The game will be televised on TNT and broadcast on NewsRadio 740 AM and La Ranchera 850 AM in Spanish.