Houston's Perspective Heading Into Game 3
By KEVIN HUDSON
Going down 0-2 in the first two games of a seven-game series can obviously be a bit daunting.
Put the next two games in that series on the road, in a hostile environment, and the task to claw back into the series becomes even more formidable.
But Houston Rockets guard James Harden said at shootaround Friday morning that he hopes having their backs against the wall coming into Friday night’s game three against the Portland Trailblazers in the raucous Moda Center will be just what his team needs to turn the series around.
“We’re just too calm at home, too calm like it was going to be easy,” Harden said. “This is a great test for us. This is going to be our game changer of the season right here.”
And with the Trailblazers holding all the momentum from taking both games in Houston, Rockets guard Jeremy Lin said that he expects the Moda Center faithful to be even louder than usual.
“These fans have been wanting their team to do well and they’re doing great right now,” he said. “They’re up 2-0 so they’re definitely going to come out fired up.”
One stat that Rockets players and coaches have noted is the lack of assists they are getting in the series, after being held to just 16 assists in game two. Part of the reason for that number is shots not falling; the other part is the lack of transition opportunities, according to Harden.
Head coach Kevin McHale said that getting out in transition is going to be crucial to the Rockets success in game three.
“When we get a chance to get out and run and get stops we’ve got to do that. That’s what we do,” McHale said. “We’ve got to go play. We’re facing their five man front on defense all the time. We’ve got to get some pace into the game.”
And as for adjustments, McHale said not to expect anything too drastic.
“You can make little tweaks. We’re looking at doing a couple of things differently but we’ve still got to be who we are,” he said.
Harden echoed his coach’s sentiments, preaching patience and emphasizing that small things, not big adjustments, will make the difference for the Rockets if they are to be successful moving forward.
“Our game is going to come around. My game is going to come around,” Harden said. “It’s about the small plays, the small things, the hustle plays that we’re not doing….It’s about the small things not the home run plays.”
Beverly pain free Friday morning
Patrick Beverly had his knee wrapped in ice after Houston’s shootaround Friday morning but said he wasn’t feeling any pain and expected to be ready for Friday night.
“The knee feels good, everything feels good. I’m moving well out there, sliding well out there,” Beverly said. “I’m just going out there and playing basketball. I don’t feel any pain and I’m just going to keep playing that way until I feel pain.”