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Harden, Rockets Have Backs Against The Wall Heading In To Game 3 Versus Warriors On Saturday

Posted by on 5/22/2015 9:11:22 PM

The Houston Rockets had the ball in the hands of their best player with the final seconds of regulation ticking down and a chance to win Game 2 and even their Western Conference Finals Best-of-7 series at 1-1 on Thursday night when they were slapped in the face with a dose of reality. Now they face an uphill climb heading in to Game 3 back home in front of their fans. James Harden couldn’t get free of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the final play and the clock expired with the Golden State Warriors holding on for a 99-98 win. Nobody was more frustrated following the loss than Harden but now the Rockets have their backs against the wall facing essentially a must-win situation in Game 2 on Saturday.

NBA Western Conference Finals – Game 3

Golden State Warriors @ Houston Rockets

Saturday May 23, 2015 – 9:00 PM ET

Warriors Lead Best-of-7 Series 2-0

What Will It Take For Warriors To Win

The Warriors took the best that Houston had to throw at them in Game 2 and managed to close the game out with a second consecutive win to open the series and they will need to trust what has worked for them heading in to Game 3 in order to carry over their momentum on the road. Stephen Curry scored a team-high 33 including five 3-point shots with six assists and three rebounds in Game 2 while Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut all pitched in with double-digit point totals. Golden State’s starting five has been difficult enough to contain and when the bench gets going the way it did on Thursday when they helped out with 20 points the Warriors are almost impossible to beat. Perhaps the most important factor for Golden State will be the level of urgency they bring to the table as the series shifts to Houston. The Rockets are going to play this game like it’s win or go home and the Warriors will have to match that sense of urgency if they are going to take a 3-0 series lead.

What Will It Take For Rockets To Win

Only four teams in NBA history have rallied back to win the Western Conference Finals after falling behind 0-2 and if Houston is going to have a chance in this series they definitely have to win Game 3. Harden will have a tough time playing any better than he was in Game 2 when he scored a game-high 38 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists and he might have to match those totals in Saturday’s game for the Rockets to win at home. Dwight Howard also looked good with 19 points and 17 rebounds in Game 2 so the blame will be pointed elsewhere with the supporting cast needing to step up in a big way. Josh Smith and Trevor Ariza could certainly do better than the 17 points they combined for in Game 2 and just as important will be the play of Houston’s bench after they were held to just 15 points with Terrence Jones accounting for 12 of them. Corey Brewer really struggled in Game 2 with just three points on 1-of-5 shooting and a minus-23 rating so while Harden will be relied on to lead the way he is going to need more support if the Rockets are going to fight their way back in to this series.

Outlook & Pick

At times it looks like the Warriors aren’t even trying because they are so deep from top to bottom but they haven’t been perfect in these playoffs and after nearly losing Game 2 at home they will be in even tougher with Game 3 on the road. Harden and company have showed the ability to score in bunches and with Howard healthy Houston should be in position to bounce back with a better performance from its supporting cast in this contest. The Rockets might not win this series but it won’t be a surprise if they bounce back with a win in front of their home fans on Saturday night.

Pick: Houston


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