Our Thursday NBA Playoffs preview highlights Game 2 between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, with the Rockets looking to level the series after being ambushed at home in the opener.
11:00 (AEST), Wed 17th May @ Toyota Center, Houston
History: Played 224: Rockets 123 V Warriors 101.
Last meeting: May 14, 2018: Warriors 119 d Rockets 106 at Toyota Center.
Final Thoughts: Heading into Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals as slight underdogs, the Golden State Warriors snatched the ascendancy with a 119-106 away win over the Houston Rockets.
The scores were tied at halftime before the Warriors skipped ahead with a 31-24 third quarter and went on with the job in the final term.
The external focus in the lead-up was the Rockets’ ability to shut down Steph Curry. Although the targeted Warriors’ star guard only racked up 18 points, it allowed Kevin Durant (37 pts) and Klay Thompson (28 pts) to shine.
James Harden had 41 points and seven assists in a losing effort for Houston, while Chris Paul had 23 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. But the Warriors’ superior shooting from the field – 53 percent to the Rockets’ 46 percent – was a significant factor.
The Warriors have won 21 of their last 26 against the Rockets, including 4-1 playoffs triumphs in 2015 (Western Conference Finals) and ’16 (First Round). The heavyweights are 2-2 this season, with Golden State winning two of their three games in Houston.
For those thinking about taking on the 225 total points line, just one of the teams’ 11 playoffs encounters have produced more than 225 points.
With the series set to head to California after this game, Game 2 shapes as the Rockets’ best chance – and perhaps only realistic hope – of clawing their way back.
The Warriors have the mental edge, however, and at a marginally longer head-to-head price than Game 1 we can’t ignore their value.