Game 2 will be a test of the Houston Rockets’ mental toughness

Houston Rockets James Harden Chris Paul (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden Chris Paul (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Game 2 of the Western Conference will be the biggest test of the Houston Rockets’ season. Can they mentally push through the adversity?

Game 1 didn’t go as planned for the Houston Rockets. They had multiple chances to tie the game or take the lead, but they didn’t make the right shots at the right time.

They suffered through multiple cold stretches throughout the game, were easily out rebounded by the Warriors, and they got less than stellar production from Clint Capela. The Rockets also didn’t get any help from the refs, and even the NBA admitted the officials missed a lot of calls that should have went Houston’s way.

Speaking of officials, Scott Foster will be on the floor for Game 2. The Rockets have a very rocky history with Foster, who last called a Rockets game back on Feb. 21 against the LA Lakers. Both Chris Paul and James Harden fouled out, and Harden suggested in his postgame interview that Foster shouldn’t be allowed to call Houston’s games going forward.

Just when you thought the controversy around the officials couldn’t get any worse after Game 1, the NBA assigns public enemy No. 1 to call Game 2.

Not to mention, the Rockets are playing a Warriors’ team that has been to four consecutive Finals and has won two straight championships. Offensively, they are one of the hardest teams to stop in NBA history, and their defense isn’t half bad either.

Regular season records are one thing, but in the playoffs, Oracle Arena is probably the hardest building to win in as an opponent. But a Game 2 victory for the Rockets could be a pivotal turning point in this series.

Obviously, home court advantage would swing Houston’s way if they can pull off a win on Tuesday night. They’d be headed back to Toyota Center, where they won 11 of their last 12 regular season home games after the All-Star break. They’re 3-0 at home since the start of the postseason.

Most of America expects the Warriors to not only win this series, but also a third straight championship. The Rockets, and any other team that faces Golden State, are viewed as underdogs.

After dropping a close Game 1 that Houston had an opportunity to steal, some people are already writing the Rockets off. But this will be a long series, and a win on Tuesday can change the momentum going forward. In order to pull off a victory on Tuesday, they’ll have to open the game with a killer mentality, and maintain it for 48 minutes.

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Can the Rockets channel their mental energy, forget about the unfair calls in Game 1, shut out the noise and fly back to Houston after the game with a tied series? We’ll have to wait until about midnight to find out.