By Avery Jacobs
The first game back off a long recovery is often a tough matchup when competing in the playoffs, and the Warriors will need to remain aware of that as they face a tough Rockets team tomorrow night at the Houston Toyota Center.
After a stumbling series against the Clippers, in which Golden State was defeated twice at home by a wide margin of points, the Warriors have begun to hit all cylinders, winning the first two games of the series at the Oracle Arena. It seems as if the team that was pushed to seven games by Houston in last year’s playoff series, could very much be looking to sweep the Rockets.
In Game 2, the Splash Brothers and Kevin Durant combined for 70 points in addition to Andre Iguodala’s 16 points off the bench to lift Golden State in a win over Houston 115-109
Sometimes a player’s career can be judged or highlighted based off the team he joins. That certainly was the narrative hoisted upon Durant when he first stepped foot into Oracle Arena. But right now for the first time, the Warriors’ need Durant more than Durant needs the Warriors.
However, the overall performance from the Warriors has been outstanding. This series, Golden State also hit a milestone, marking the first time in franchise postseason history that all five of its starters scored 15-or-more points in the same game. Not only have they produced on the offensive end, they have showed the same effort on the other end of the court as well, forcing 17 turnovers against the Rockets in Game 2.
Even though the Rockets showed some signs of urgency late in the game, it was still not enough to overcome Golden State’s powerful offense in Game 2, and it could possibly be the same outcome if Houston continues to turn the ball over throughout the series.
The Rockets still had some moments, connecting 17 of their 40 long-range shots and closing in on a 15-point deficit late in the final quarter to bring the score within three. Though James Harden dealt with a staggering eye injury, he still managed to follow through with a great performance with 29 points, while Chris Paul tallied 18 points and dished six assists.
With a series looking very one-sided thus far, Houston has a lot to figure out as Games 3 and 4 shift to Houston. Unlike Houston, the Warriors have something in mind this series. Could it be a sweep? If so, then tomorrow night has got to be another showdown.