If the Houston Rockets are going to win a championship this season, they’re going to need to harness their performance from a dominant Game 2 win over the Golden State Warriors.
In the 127-105 win, the Rockets embodied everything that made them a 65-game winner during the 2017-18 regular season. They were opportunistic in driving to the rim, they knocked down their corner three-pointers, and the defense was much improved.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni said the Rockets didn’t make any adjustments, they just played better. However, the Rockets played an entirely different game from Game 1. They moved the ball on offense and limited the isolation plays. In fact, the Rockets nearly doubled their average number of isolation plays in Game 1 as compared to the regular season. That’s not a winning formula. They found one in Game 2.
"That nastiness, that's the only way we're going to have a shot to win. We definitely have to play harder than them. We've got to play harder, and we've got to play smarter,” said Houston forward P.J. Tucker, who delivered a career performance.
James Harden emphasized that the team was moving at a 95 mph speed Wednesday night as opposed to the 70 they were cruising in during Game 1. Much of that can be attributed to ball movement. The Rockets were not required to hoist many shots late in the shot clock due to a slower pace.
The fast pace and improved efficiency has become a hallmark of this Houston team. It could propel them to a fantastic finish in 2018.
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