Warriors vs. Rockets Game 3 Preview

After two convincing wins at home the Warriors will be traveling to Houston down 2-0 in the series. A lot has changed since last season when the Rockets rallied form down 3-1 in the semi-finals against the Clippers to take the series and then eventually bowing out to the Warriors in 5 games. The roster is basically the same, the biggest change is at head coach where Kevin Mchale was inexplicably fired early in the season. After getting the team to a conference final the previous year you would have thought his job was safe. The coaching change did little to change the team’s direction and they now find themselves facing a 2-0 deficit. The Warriors have been the leagues best team for two years now. There is some concern over reining MVP Steph Curry’s ankle as he sat out game 2 but all reports are saying that the injury is nothing serious.

In game 2 the Rockets showed an improved level of intensity but it still did not match that of the Warriors nor was it at a playoff level. James Harden had a nice game with 28 points and 11 assists while going 13-15 from the foul line. However he appears to be falling back into his old habits of laziness on defense and at times looks really lost. Point guard Patrick Beverly had 13 points and 7 rebounds. Dwight Howard had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists but took only 7 shots in his 35 minutes. Michael Beasley came off the bench with 10 points and 5 rebounds while the ageless wonder Jason Terry had 13 points in a losing effort. The fact is this team looks like they are going through the motions far too often and will need to use the home crowd advantage if they want any chance against the greatest regular season team in NBA history.

The Warriors should be concerned over the status of Curry’s ankle because these injuries have a way of lingering. They were smart to sit him out in game 2 and should rest him for the remainder of the series if there is any doubt. Unlike the next round (where they will likely face the Clippers) they don’t need Curry to win this series. Shaun Livingston replaced Curry in the starting lineup and finished with 16 points and 6 assists. Klay Thompson took on an increased scoring load en route to 34 points and 5 assists. Center Andrew Bogut had his first double figure scoring game in the playoffs with 10 points and 7 rebounds. Draymond Green was his usual spectacular self with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists. Veteran Andre Igudala had 18 points off the bench.

If Curry plays and is able to move laterally like he usually does then this series is over already. However if Curry is either limited or does not play then the Rockets will smell blood in the water and have a chance at getting back into the series at home.

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