The Houston Rockets will complete a season sweep against the Warriors on Wednesday night. Here are three reasons why.
As I write this article, the Houston Rockets sit alone as the 3rd seed in the Western Conference playoff picture! Please raise your hand if you envisioned this would be possible after their 11-14 start (to the 1 or 2 people who have your hands up, please put it down).
This team has shown tremendous heart in not giving up on the season, and truly becoming a real threat to the Golden State Warriors. With that being said, there is a huge match up against the Warriors tomorrow night inside of Toyota Center. The Rockets are going to win this game, and there are three reasons why:
1. Reason Number One: DEFENSE
This 9 game win streak started when the Harden-less Rockets went into Oracle arena and beat the Warriors. Per Salman Ali, the Houston Rockets have the 7th best defense since the All Star Break (rating produced before the Hornets game).
It is no surprise that this defense has started with PJ Tucker getting out of his personal slump. Houston’s defensive surge has been a pleasure to witness, and is a huge factor in the 9 game winning streak. They have held 3 out of their last 4 opponents to less than 100 points for the game and with the way our offense can put points up, that is a recipe for winning a lot of games. A team can simply not beat the Warriors and their incredible starting lineup without playing solid team defense, and it appears the Rockets are figuring out how to do that on a nightly basis.
2. Eric “March Madness “Gordon
Since the beginning of March, Eric Gordon is scoring 22 points per game, on a scorching 55 percent shooting from the field. In the month of March, EG is scoring nearly 6 more points per game over his season average of 16 points.
It is no secret that you need to play nearly a flawless game on most nights to beat the Warriors, but Gordon has proven to be one of the keys to a victory in this matchup. Of the three wins vs. the Warriors this season, Gordon did not play in one of the games, but he averaged 21 points in the other two games. In order to beat them, the Rockets need multiple guys to get hot and have productive games, and Eric Gordon is certainly one of those key guys.
3. In a pivotal game like this, our home court advantage will be a key to victory
Now please do not laugh at this point, until you read the entirety of my reasoning. We all know that Rockets fans are typically not in their seats at time for tip off, no matter how big the game is.
However, games like this are the types of games that they will be in their seats *shortly after tip off, and that place is going to be rocking. As someone who has attended many home games with my father, I have been there with a revved up crowd, and Toyota Center becomes deafening. Call me a homer, or whatever else, but I think the crowd will definitely play a factor on Wednesday night, and will help lead to a massive win.
It is no secret that the Rockets are 3-0 against the Warriors this season, and that is no small accomplishment. However, tomorrow night’s contest is the biggest game of the year. A single game that could cut down the Warriors lead for the first seed to 2.5 games, and could truly show the rest of the league that the Rockets are for real.
If we lose the game, does it prove that we are not a true contender? No, but it would give the Warriors the confidence that they can beat this year’s Rockets on their home court, and that would not be a good thing. Whatever happens, it should be a great game, and I cannot wait to witness it. As always, GO ROCKETS!!!