The Houston Rockets will begin their series against the defending champs tonight as they head into Oracle Arena. Can they come out strong and take the first game of the battle?
The day of inevitability is here, folks. The Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors will finally face off once again after an all-time classic series a year ago that ended in heartbreak for Houston.
Like a superhero facing off against a supervillain, it was only a matter of time before the two teams met again. Will the heroes prevail in this one or will the Rockets get Thanos-snapped again like last season?
Let’s look at a few things the Rockets can do this afternoon to have a higher chance at winning the first game of the series.
Come out aggressive like the Warriors
Last season, the Golden State Warriors came out extremely strong, winning the first game of the series despite being in a hostile environment in Toyota Center. They won by double-digits because they were able to ignore the crowd and just play their game.
The Rockets should try to emulate that today. The Clippers have proven that it is possible to win at Oracle Arena and Houston has to take one of these first two games. They can’t be intimidated by the crowd and they must have a strong game.
James Harden must be James Harden
After a strong first two games against the Utah Jazz, James Harden found himself struggling a bit the rest of the series. He was inefficient but was still able to contribute to the games in other areas on both ends of the court.
Poor shooting nights like the 3/20 one in Game 3 will get the Rockets blown out by an opponent like the Warriors. Harden has to be sharp and ready to go today if Houston wants to steal a game on the road. He was great vs. the Warriors in the regular season and I expect him to be great in this series.
Run it back
The Rockets need to remember what happened last year. They were so close to beating the Warriors and advancing to a likely championship before the Chris Paul injury happened and the rest is history.
The Rockets need to realize that they can beat this team. Houston is arguably stronger all-around and Golden State is arguably at their weakest in years. Take advantage of that and be the first team to down the Kevin Durant era Warriors.
Be sure to tune in this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. CT on ABC as the series begins!