The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors provided another good game with both squads being down one star.
While there was no James Harden or Kevin Durant, the Houston Rockets (27-10) fell to the Golden State Warriors (31-9) 124-114 after the two squads exchanged punches back and forth. For the evening, both the Rockets and Warriors combined for 30 made 3’s alongside some ridiculous made shots.
Here some stats from the night:
Chris Paul: 28 points, 5/10 from three, 7 assists
Eric Gordon: 30 points, 7 assists, 12/24 from the field
Gerald Green: 29 points, 8/15 from three off the bench
However, what exactly did we learn from this game and did it provide a look into a potential Western Conference Finals matchup?
Health will be important
If the Rockets are to have any run in the playoffs, the team has to be at full strength. The absence of Luc Mbah a Moute already had its effects on the team. However, missing James Harden while Nene and Clint Capela deal with nagging injuries doesn’t help. With that said, the team as a whole has held the fort down pretty well. CP3 is back and the offense is in good hands with him on the floor.
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The All-Star break will be a crucial time for the Rockets to recover and prepare for the playoffs. After that, it’s all or nothing for the squad. The next two weeks will be a big indication of the team’s will without the MVP candidate Harden. When the Rockets has guys like Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, and Chris Paul picking it up, the team still finds a way to win.
The Rockets can compete with the Warriors
It is no secret that the Houston Rockets are obsessed with dethroning the Warriors as the best in the West. In fact, it is the worst kept secret in the league. However, one thing is for certain. This team is built and can compete with the Warriors. No doubt about it.
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While both teams were without star players, the guys on the floor were enough to showcase a potential conference finals matchup preview. Both squads are identical in offensive efficiency, three-point shooting, shooting percentage, and when healthy both have the ability to play stout defense.
Expect the next two meetings to be intense. Especially if everyone is healthy and ready to go. The Rockets have assembled their best team around James Harden since he has been here and it shows. The rest of the season from here on out will be a battle to the end for the top seeds in the West. If we learned anything, this Rockets team is tough and has heart.
While the grind of the final stretch of the season is still a bit far off, it will be here sooner than you know. So get your popcorn ready because it will be a wild finish in the West. This is the best and toughest Rockets team in years and expect nothing less than pure effort and lights out shooting from the squad.
Next up for the Rockets is the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Get well soon, James! Once he returns, watch out Red Nation! The Rockets will be really dangerous to deal with.