Despite win, the Rockets know they can play better for Game 2

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images /

The Houston Rockets are 5-1 in the postseason so far, but they haven’t been able to consistently give a great effort for a full game. They’ll look to keep improving in Game 2.

The Houston Rockets have won five of their first six games in the postseason. However, the Rockets didn’t play their best basketball in some of those wins.

Houston struggled mightily on offense in their first three games of the postseason, but a combination of good defense and low turnovers kept them ahead of the Wolves. Then, the Rockets picked it up on offense, scoring 119 points and then 122 points to close out Minnesota.

They picked up right where they left off in Game 1 against Utah, dropping 64 points in the first half. Naturally, Houston let their foot off of the gas a bit in the second half. The Jazz never came seriously close, but they did cut a 27 point lead down to 11 in the fourth quarter.

The Rockets have been great in spurts, but they aren’t putting together the type of complete efforts that we’re accustomed to seeing from championship teams. Mike D’Antoni is happy with all of the wins, but he knows that Houston can make some improvements for Game 2, via ESPN Houston’s Kelly Iko.

“Obviously, we only scored 46 points in the second half, so thats not good. The pace probably wasn’t where it should be. Defensively, we had some break downs. We had 15 turnovers and gave them 22 points. I think at halftime, it was like 5 turnovers. So we got careless and all that came from just the sloppiness in general. But those are things that we can control. And that’s what makes it good is that we can play a lot better than this.”

Not only did the Rockets let up in the second half, but Utah’s halftime adjustments gave a boost to their offense. Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute were on the LA Clippers team that lost to Utah in the playoffs last year. Mbah a Moute expects Jazz coach Quinn Snyder to form a more complete game plan for Game 2, via’s Sekou Smith.

“Their coach is unbelievable. I have a lot of respect for him. His game plan adjustments are amazing and his in-game adjustments during a series are amazing. Going against him last year, seven times, I can tell. I know how many times they changed from game to game. And every time we did something defensively he would come back with a counter for it, so I’m sure he’s going to have some stuff for our switches [on defense].

“You could tell a little bit in the second half. They started throwing the ball to [Rudy] Gobert a little bit more and having Chris and smaller guys in that position where they had to either wrap him up or foul him. So yeah, I think it’s going to be even harder to play better and defend better because they are going to make some adjustments, and some pretty good ones. It’s going to be a good challenge. I know that from playing them last year, that’s for sure.”

After Utah closed out Oklahoma City in a close Game 6, they had to fly to Houston and play the Rockets in under 48 hours. Houston was obviously the more rested team and that helped them gain a huge early lead.

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With two full days of rest without travel between Game 1 and Game 2, the Jazz will be able to make plenty of adjustments and they should come out with a lot more energy. The Rockets will have to make sure that they bring a lot more effort in the second half on Wednesday night.