Rockets May Have to Shake off Fatigue
Here’s how it goes in the NBA playoffs: You fight like the dickens to win a seventh game, and get a day’s rest. Then you hit the road to face a foe who has been warming their hot hands by the home fire for three days. That’s the kind of uphill battle the Houston Rockets face.
The Rockets, who clinched their series on Sunday, face the Golden State Warriors, winners in a six-game test that ended on Friday. The Rockets enter the series chock full of momentum points, for sure. They won three straight games against the Los Angeles Clippers to come from a 3-1 series deficit. The series clincher was one in which the Rockets never trailed, and they repelled Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Clippers at every turn. Dwight Howard scored his 15th double-double in 18 career playoff games as a Rocket, James Harden seems back to full health. And the Rockets have been getting consistent contribution from the bench.
The Warriors appear to be back into their shooting form, and that doesn’t bode well for the Rockets. In the Warriors’ final triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies, Stephen Curry hit eight three-point shots on the way to scoring 32 points. Klay Thompson scored 20 points in that game and has been another effective force from the outside for the Warriors. But they never quite mastered an inside game against the Grizzlies, and have a tendency to rely on pure shooting.
This is the first time since 1997 that the Rockets have to the conference finals. For the Golden State Warriors, it is the first time to come this far since 1976. So it will be interesting to see how the younger players on the roster react. Energy may rule the day early in this series, and experience could be the big factor late.
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