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Warriors vs Rockets Game 2: Warriors clicking, Harden looking for help

Mackenzie Tout

by Mackenzie Tout in NBA Basketball

May 16, 2018 · 9:05 AM PDT

James Harden of the Houston Rockets
Will James Harden get the help he needs in Game 2 against the Warriors? Photo by Keith Allison Flickr) [CC License].
  • Rockets in an early “must-win” situation
  • Kevin Durant nearly unguardable in impressive performance
  • Bets and Predicitions for Game 2

The Houston Rockets find themselves in what many consider a “must-win” Game 2 matchup with the Golden State Warriors. If the Rockets drop both home games, rest assured Warriors players will be licking their chops, and fans will be grabbing their brooms.

Game 2 goes down in Houston on Wednesday night, with tip off set for 9pm EST.

Team Stats


50.3 Field Goal % 46.0
39.1 Three Point % 36.2
81.5 Free Throw % 78.1
43.5 Rebounds 43.5
29.3 Assists 21.5
15 Turnovers 13.2
107.3 Defensive Rating 106.4

Game Notes on the Rockets

In the biggest game of their season, The Beard showed up. Harden dropped a game-high 41 points while adding 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Harden got the Toyota Centre on its feet early by making a few flashy step backs and slashing his way to the hoop.

Chris Paul had a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Paul played with an edge and showed aggressiveness at times, but he forgot his roll as the Rocket’s playmaker. CP3 didn’t get teammates involved, choosing a lot of isolation looks over moving the ball.

The Rockets offense is typically comprised of fast-breaks and isolation sets. On average, the Rockets ran about 30 isolation sets a game over the past season. Last night they ran 45. Their offense lacked flow and was solely dependant on Harden and Paul’s ability to make contested jumpers.

The Rockets interior players didn’t rebound the ball well. Granted the Warriors didn’t give them much to collect, there’s simply no excuse for Chris Paul to be your leading rebounder at a generous 6-feet tall.

Game Notes on the Warriors

They’re annoyingly good, the end.

Kevin Durant was a true difference maker in this one. On display was his full arsenal of shots, ranging from pull up Js, turn around faders, and contested floaters. Durant did a great job getting to his spots and knocking down a variety of shots. 37 points on 14 of 27 shooting was enough to give the Warriors the edge they needed.

In place of the “not quite fully recovered” Steph Curry was Klay Thompson, picking up his scoring with 28 points, including 6 buckets beyond the arc. Just like Harden, Kevin Durant won’t be able to do it all himself, either.

Draymond Green was back to his usual self, grabbing an early technical foul for grabbing James Harden in the neck area and shoving him towards the baseline. Flashback to the 2016 NBA Finals, you’d hate to see this team suffer another devastating loss as a result of a Green suspension.

The Warriors played tight defensive coverage, plugging the lanes and forcing outside shots. Despite being tied at half, the Warriors forced three shot-clock violations in the opening half. Along with their offense, Golden State will find more success with this type of defensive pressure.

Head-to-Head Results – Regular Season

Date Location Score Winner
Jan. 20 HOU 116-108 HOU
Jan. 4 HOU 124-114 GS
Oct. 17 GS 122-121 HOU

Notable Injuries and Absences

Warriors Rockets
Patrick McCaw (back): OUT No injuries


Can the Rockets get a win in Game 2?

The short answer, yes.

The Golden State Warriors were extremely efficient in Game 1, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 88 percent from the stripe as a team. Although they are great, it’s improbable they will follow-up game 2 with the same level of shooting.

The Rockets offense needs to move the ball, plain and simple. There’s a time and place for Iso sets, but you’re not going to beat the defending world champs by having four guys stand still while the other “does his thing” on 50 percent of your possessions.

Houston can’t afford to fall victim to switching their match-ups and having Kevin Durant take Chris Paul and PJ Tucker hostage play after play.

Kevin Durant needs to be put in check. Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni should consider a defensive adjustment on KD, whether it be a new assignment or implementing a double-team. Regardless, Houston can’t afford to fall victim to switching their match-ups and having Kevin Durant take Chris Paul and PJ Tucker hostage play after play.

In a series with this much talent, athleticism, and star-power, there’s going to be different ebs and flows and a variety of game-planning. Kerr and D’Antoni are two of the best in the business. I know the popular dialogue right now is “Warriors in four” but I don’t buy it.

Team Trends

Warriors Rockets
Golden State is 31-14 SU on the road Houston is 39-8 SU at home
Golden State is 8-2 SU in its last ten games Houston is 8-2 SU in its last ten games
Golden State is 1-5 SU as an underdog Houston is 71-14 SU as a favorite
Golden State is 24-40-1 ATS after a win Houston is 38-33-1 ATS after a win
Golden State is 38-53-1 ATS this season (41.8%) Houston is 47-44-1 ATS this season (51.6%)
Golden State is 20-25-0 ATS on the road Houston is 27-18-0 ATS at home

Moneyline, ATS , O/U, and Predictions

The value here isn’t great, but I do have faith in putting a little cash on the first-half bet. The Rockets have shown they have the ability to get hot early, and with a few defensive adjustments, I expect them to be leading at half. I’m taking the Rockets -1 at -105.

I also like the UNDER on 225 points, paying -115. There’s going to be a premium on defense for both clubs. The Rockets are 0-3 when giving up more than 110 points.

Rockets grab a much-needed W in a gritty 111 – 101 preformance.

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