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Rockets try to go up 2-0 against the Spurs: Game 2 preview

May 1, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) defends during the first half in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) defends during the first half in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets stole game one in convincing fashion on Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, but securing a 2-0 lead won’t come easy.

Game one of the second round was one of the best games in years for the Houston Rockets. They dominated the San Antonio Spurs from start to finish, hitting threes and layups, and avoid midrange shots like the black plague.

Nobody in the city of San Antonio could stop James Harden from getting what he wanted, so he tallied 20 points and 14 assists in just three quarters of play. Six Houston Rockets finished with double digit points, three of which scoring 20 or more. For Red Nation, it was a fantastic night.

#KHOU11 #Rockets owner Leslie Alexander comments on Game 1 win over #Spurs pic.twitter.com/YCkft9jsCa

— Matt Musil (@KHOUSportsMatt) May 2, 2017

Judging from game one’s outcome, then, tonight’s contest should be easy, right? The Spurs still have the same roster and nobody’s getting any younger over there. The Beard should be able to look forward to another easy W en route to a sweep.

WRONG.

There’s a reason the Spurs won 61 games in the regular season. Gregg Popovich didn’t win three Coach of the Year awards by accident. Kawhi Leonard is still a transcendent superstar despite a lackluster outing on Monday.

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Anybody who’s celebrating another Western Conference Finals appearance for the Houston Rockets needs to stop immediately and knock on wood (I’m a bit superstitious). Pop has most certainly labored over his adjustments for tonight, and it will likely pay off.

That doesn’t mean the Rockets can’t win, but expecting another blowout would be irresponsible. Harden will likely have to work hard for every bucket tonight, and I’m assuming the Spurs will look to limit three point attempts. Mike D’Antoni will have his work cut out for him tonight.

The good news is that a game two loss still leaves the Rockets with the advantage going back to Houston. A 2-0 lead would be even better, obviously, but there is no threat of San Antonio taking the upper hand in the series tonight.

All that being said, I predict the Rockets narrowly edge the Spurs for the game two win. It won’t be easy and it won’t be pretty, but I just don’t see San Antone being able to stop the pick-and-roll with Harden and Clint Capela and Ryan Anderson.

Next: (Un)biased thoughts on Rockets vs. Spurs

Tune in to TNT tonight at 8:30 CT for some Houston Rockets basketball, which should be excellent as usual.

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