In a repeat of last seasons Western Conference Finals the Houston Rockets tip-off at 3:30 EST versus the Golden State Warriors.
The question on everyone’s mind is can the Houston Rockets win a game, let alone shock everyone and take the series.
Let’s be frank, these Warriors are a team who’ve set copious records this season not the least of which was setting the All-Time regular season win total by virtue of a 73-9 season.
Incredible as that record is there are other milestones this Warriors team has achieved such as never losing two games in a row or two games to the same team. Consider how diligent a team has to be to reach those standards! These records point to the consistency of the Warriors and more than anything else showcase the contrast between the two squads.
Having said that, nothing is impossible and anything can happen in the post season. All you have to do is recall the Rockets versus the Thunder a few seasons back when an early injury sent Russell Westbrook off the court. At the time it appeared innocent enough, but it ended his season and ultimately likely cost the Thunder a deep run.
Now no one wants an injury to occur to either team, I’m just referencing the fact the NBA Playoffs is the start of a new season if you will and today (Saturday, April 16th) marks the tip-off of that season.
The bottom line is when the teams come on to the Oracle Center court today they begin with exactly the same record 0 – 0.
With that, here’s the game day preview:
Venue: Oracle Center
Game Time: 3:30 PM EST – 2:30 PM CT
TV: Nationally on ABC
Radio: 790 AM and KNBR 680 AM
Last season the Houston Rockets were swept by the Warriors in the regular season a feat they repeated this season.
- February 9th at Golden State – Warriors 123 -110 Rockets
- December 31st at Houston- Warriors 114 – 110 Rockets
- October 30th at Houston: Warriors 112 – 92 Rockets
- Kevon Looney – hip, day to day
- Sam Dekker – remains out from back surgery
Keys to Winning:
Paint a Picture: Take the ball to the paint early and often with the primary goal of scoring and secondary goal of getting Bogut and Green in early foul trouble. With no Ezeli, it leaves little help on the bench if the other power players get in foul trouble.
Perimeter defense: Obviously with the Splash Brothers backed up by Barnes, Green and Iguodala’s ability to also score from deep this has to be an essential priority of the Rockets to control. The irony is the defense Houston employed last season to limit perimeter scoring and paint penetration is exactly what they need. The problem is if the Rockets can do that then why haven’t they been for 53 games this season?
Transition Defense: the other critical portion of the defensive game plan is making sure the Warriors don’t leak out on fast breaks since the Warriors can combine transition with quick lay-ups and pull-up threes that could easily result in a 20 point lead in the blink of an eye.
Maintain emotions – the Rockets all know how close they came last season and this season has gone according to plan for one team, it’s just not the Rockets. Hence they’ll need to maintain their emotions if Golden State jump on them.
Nothing to lose: It’s a new season and both teams are starting with the same record. With everyone expecting the Rockets to lose they can play free and uninhibited. Focus, play with energy and above all play 48 minutes.
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- Houston Rockets: Evan Mobley worth a look at No. 2 in NBA Draft
- Houston Rockets: Ranking the top-five 2021 NBA draft prospects
It’s no surprise the Warriors who lost a single game at home all season and went 73-9 are the overwhelming favorites heading into game 1 with a 13 point projecting margin of winning, a plus- minus of 225 points. Perhaps the most surprising stat is the Warriors only have a slight edge in the action with 59% leaning toward last year’s champs.
If the Rockets can take advantage of having no pressure on them and jump on the Warriors early or get them off their game there is a potential to get in their heads. If Houston have a shot at all of upsetting the Warriors they’ll need to win at least one in Golden State. With that said, this would be the best opportunity to catch Golden State underestimating them.
Warriors by 10
For more exciting news and stories on the Golden State Warriors visit our affiliate FanSided site: Blue Man Hoop
Plus check our our Preseason Team Preview of the Warriors:
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