Game Day Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors, Game 5

Apr 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) jumps on center Dwight Howard (12) as he high fives guard Patrick Beverley (2) to celebrate a play against the the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) jumps on center Dwight Howard (12) as he high fives guard Patrick Beverley (2) to celebrate a play against the the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Houston Rockets game 5 tip-off  versus the Golden State Warriors goes tonight with Red Nation anxious to see if this will be the final match of the season.

Well Red Nation the Rockets are now in win or go home mode and what will haunt every Houston player and fan is the Rockets simply threw away the third quarter in game 4. Hindsight is 20-20 with Stephen Curry getting injured, coupled with news both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s post season is also over. With these injuries the route to the Western Conference Finals just got so much easier.

Hearing Jason Terry guarantee a win and the team isn’t ready to give up at this point and will fight, feels like it came 86 games too late. Their opponent may not have their MVP, but they do have the new Head Coach of the Year, who’ll have his team fired up to finish the series tonight.

There is still hope as slim as it may be.

With that here’s the game day preview:

The Details

Venue: Oracle Center

Game Time: 10:30 PM EST – 9:30 PM CT


Radio: KTRH 740 AM,KNBR 680 AM

Recent History:

  • Game 4 of 2016 Playoffs at Houston Rockets 94 – 124 Warriors
  • Game 3 of 2016 Playoffs at Houston – Rockets 97 – 96 Warriors
  • Game 2 of 2016 Playoffs at Golden State – Warriors 115 – 106 Rockets
  • Game 1 of 2016 Playoffs at Golden State – Warriors 104 – 78 Rockets

Walking Wounded:


  • Stephen Curry sprained the MCL in his knee and won’t play again for a minimum of 2 weeks
  • Kevon Looney – as per rotoworld had arthroscopic surgery (left hip) to repair a torn labrum -out 4 to 6 months


As per rotoworld and CBS Sports

Projected Starters:

Warriors:Shaun Livingston,  Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes  Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut

Rockets: Patrick Beverley,  James HardenTrevor ArizaDonatas Motiejunas, Dwight Howard

*Of note Beverley competed in a full practice and says he’ll play


WarriorsAndre Iguodala, Marreese Speights,  Brandon Rush,

Rockets:   Michael BeasleyJason Terry, K.J. McDaniels,   Corey Brewer,   Josh Smith, Clint Capela

Stat Comparison:

Warriors G5 stats
Warriors G5 stats /
Rockets G5 stats
Rockets G5 stats /

(all charts as per

Keys to Winning:

Again not much changes from Game 4 given it was their lone victory:

Perimeter defense: The Warriors posted a playoff high scoring 21 three pointers in game 4, so emphasis needs to be squarely on the perimeter. With no Curry perhaps Bickerstaff will buy a vowel and finally figure out he should be playing K.J. McDaniels on Thompson who hit 7 threes last game. Maybe JB can take a page out of Duane Casey’s book who has recognized talent can win you games. Norman Powell may be a rookie and a second round pick at that, but he’s been key through the Raptors wins in their series. Sure wish Bickerstaff would have the same faith in McDaniels!

Find a solution for Livingston: As Space City Scoop’s Andre Cantalogo has repeatedly pointed out, the loss of Curry hasn’t mattered because the Rockets have no answer on stopping Livingston either. If the team wants to make sure Jason Terry isn’t eating crow by game end, this is a area Houston need resolution to – quick!

Use your BIG advantage: With a plethora of front court players who are all versatile Bickerstaff needs to insist Howard gets more touches as a bare minimum. The Warriors are expecting Harden to have the ball in his hand and take the majority of shots, so do something that will throw off those expectations.  Motiejunas has looked better in each of the series and will have to be a factor in game 5 for the Rockets to win. Capela has barely played which has been another odd Bickerstaff rotation decision.

Yet, the most head scratching strategic move is Houston no capitalizing on their  strength in the paint of Dwight Howard who is registering a double-double in the series while shooting 65.7% from the field. The Rockets are getting him 10 or less shot attempts per game, which again points to the ineptness of this coaching staff to recognize their advantages and exploit them. The chart below courtesy of illustrates the two clear Rockets advantages are points in the paint and second chance scoring and consequently both come via work in the paint!

GSW vs Rockets Game Stats
GSW vs Rockets Game Stats /

OF NOTE: For as many who are citing Howard’s decline each of his paint touches led to 1.88 points per possession as per Sports VU

Take Oracle out of the equation:

It’s been well documented how the Warriors respond to their crowd, so Houston need to jump on the Warriors from the tip.

TRUST: At this point in the season it may be asking for too much to request the players trust one another.  Yet, perhaps Jason Terry’s guarantee of a Game 5 victory will serve to unite the team.

More from Space City Scoop

The Pick:

The odds makers have made the Warriors 9 point favorites despite Curry being out. The over under is 212.5 points with early heavy action on the Dubs.

History is there to call upon:

The bottom line is the odds favor the Warriors winning: the game as it’s GSW’s home court and teams with a 3-1 series lead have a prohibitive advantage in series.

In fact, only 9 teams have come back from being 1 – 3 down, and that’s what is intriguing  since 2 of those victories are owned by the Rockets.

After the game look for the post game grades and come join us on that page in the comments section to interact with other Rockets fans who want to discuss the grades, the game and compare how the Rockets performed in what could be their final game at the Toyota Center this season.

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:

Next: Warriors Preview

Make sure you check out Space City Scoops end of season Rockets Round Table:

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 1

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 2

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 3

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