Rockets Must Adjust Without Howard
It’s not clear how the absence of Dwight Howard will affect the Houston Rockets in their series with the Golden State Warriors. But if Tuesday’s opener is a roadmap, the Rockets will need to get their bearings to get back on course.
Howard, Houston’s all-star center, went out during the first period of Game 1 with a knee injury. He tried coming back later in the game, but was ineffective. An MRI has since confirmed a knee sprain, so Howard will be hobbled if not absent. Golden State went to a small lineup and rallied from a 16-point deficit to take the first game, 110-106.
To look at the boxscore of the game, Howard’s limited effect wasn’t that glaring. He had seven points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes. The Rockets outrebounded the Warriors 47-43. But looking at the flow of the game, it was easy to see that Howard could not contain the Warriors’ slashing and dashing to the basket.
Howard has been injury prone this season, so the Rockets are somewhat used to playing without him. He did not start in 41 games this year, and the Rockets managed to win 27 of them, despite being outrebounded 16 times.
For the Rockets to stay in the series, they’ll have to stem the running style that the “small” Warriors displayed in Game 1, and they’ll need to fill a gap up the middle. Rookie Clint Capela, who putt in good minutes Tuesday, will likely have to play more minutes.
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