The Houston Rockets have tied up the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece by beating the Warriors 95-92 in all-out gritty war to the finish line. What was the one stat that helped with their win tonight? Let’s examine.
The Houston Rockets are officially alive once again. Come on, you know and I know that there were plenty of worries throughout our minds on how tonight’s game was going to pan out. There was a ton of uncertainty, plenty of pessimism and it appeared that there was tiny sliver of light shining from the end of the tunnel.
Now that light has gotten brighter for the Houston Rockets as the series will shift back to H-Town as the team tries to gain a foothold. It’s possible — especially with this team having the home crowd behind them and they’ll need to continue to do what’s gotten them to this point of the season so far.
What’s that you might ask? They need to keep the pace up high, play suffocating defense and with a sprinkle of isolation plays. My problem with those said plays is that it steers away from the overall effectiveness of the production of team and focuses on individual accolades. Yes, I’m aware that points are accumulated — nearly two per play — from either James Harden or Chris Paul but this invokes a spectacular individual performance not one of the team.
To beat the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets must have each and every player in the rotation contribute heavily on both ends of the court. Our opponent has too many weapons that make a deadly strike at any moment. This is why it’s important that these guys bend their knees, drop their posteriors to the ground and start shuffling their feet with the hands exclaiming like they’ve never done before.
It’s such a simple concept but yet so many professionals fail to do it effectively or don’t give much regard. That’s not this Houston Rockets team to which the efforts of assistant coaches Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers truly rubbing off on the members of this team. They tend to stay motivated in taking part in hard-nosed defense when it counts and that’s all I ask.
But what was the one stat that was the difference-maker this game?
Points off Turnovers
Yes, I said it, the Warriors had 16 turnovers tonight to the Rockets 10. Can you guess how many points the Rockets scored off those Warriors’ turnovers?
Yes, isn’t that amazing? That’s defensive productivity at its finest and let’s break it down even further to who actually converted those 20 points tonight:
James Harden: 9
Chris Paul: 4
Trevor Ariza: 3
Eric Gordon: 2
P.J. Tucker: 2
Two of Harden’s nine points off turnovers was off a beautiful strip of Kevin Durant from up at the
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top of the key that led him to dash out to a nice breakaway dunk. That steal put the Rox up 48-43 with 1:23 left in the 1st half.
Perhaps one of the most exciting was when Ariza’s points off a turnover was from a CP3’s pass to him in the left corner to nail a PIVOTAL pull-up three with six minutes left in the game. That put the Rockets up 85-84 and it certainly helped to keep shifting the momentum in the Rox’s direction.
That’s Rockets basketball and I couldn’t be prouder of what they did tonight. The team was only able to get eight points off the Warriors’ eight turnovers Sunday night so this is certainly a noticeable increase in productivity.
That’s a far cry from Game 3 where the Warriors converted 28 points off the Rockets 19 turnovers, adding some credence to the ugliness that we all saw just two days ago.
That’s still pretty good for both ends as the Warriors are tops in the playoffs, averaging 18.1 points off turnovers. As for the Rox, they’re currently holding at 14.4 POT, one-tenth of a point shy of leading the Cleveland Cavaliers, the worst out of the teams still playing something. For grins and giggles, the Boston Celtics’ POT per game is at 15.3 for the playoffs.
All in all, we have a series and I cannot stress enough that the Rockets need to excel at this particular stat to give their odds of winning this series a much needed boost.
I can’t wait until this series commences once again!
The Rockets will take on the Warriors in Game 5 at Toyota Center this Thursday. The tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised on TNT and broadcast on NewsRadio 740 AM/La Ranchera 850 AM in Spanish.