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Game 2 Preview: Warriors at Rockets - 5/16/18
After taking Game 1 on the road, the Warriors face the Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
GOING FOR TWO
Fresh off their Game 1 victory, the Warriors will try to make it two-straight road wins to begin the Western Conference Finals when they take on the Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday night. This will be the second and final game at the Toyota Center before the series transitions back to Oakland for Games 3 and 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Pacific). Watch the action on TNT, or listen to the call on 95.7 The Game, the Warriors Mobile App and the Warriors Radio Network.
LAST TIME OUT
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 65 points to lead Golden State to a 119-106 victory in Game 1 on Monday night. Full Recap
MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
|2nd in West||1st in West|
|PTS: 111.1 (1st)||PTS: 109.2 (3rd)|
|REB: 47.4 (2nd)||REB: 43.6 (7th)|
|AST: 28.4 (1st)||AST: 20.4 (11th)|
Throughout the regular season, the Warriors and Rockets had highly contrasting offensive strategies, and those were further exasperated in Game 1 on Monday night. During the regular season, Houston ranked dead last in the NBA with an average of 253.8 passes per game, due in large part to the fact that they possess some of the best isolation players in the game. In Game 1 on Monday, the Rockets passed the ball a total of 226 times, compared to 283 passes for the Warriors. Making matters worse for Houston was the fact that in addition to having success moving the ball around, the Warriors could also rely on their own isolation master when things bogged down. Of Kevin Durant’s team-high 37 points, 27 of those came in isolation sets, where Durant shot 10-of-13 from the field, drew three fouls and committed just a single turnover. Both teams have been very successful with their offensive strategies all season long, and it would be surprising to see either of them divert now. That said, the effects of ball movement on shot quality were readily apparent in Game 1. Outside of James Harden, Clint Capela was the only Rocket to make at least half of his field goal attempts. Of the nine Golden State players that played in Game 1, only one of them failed to qualify for that category.
TEAM PLAYOFF LEADERS
|PTS: Durant (28.8)||PTS: Harden (29.6)|
|REB: Green (11.3)||REB: Capela (11.6)|
|AST: Green (9.0)||AST: Harden (7.4)|
When push came to shove in Game 1, the Warriors’ best players proved to be the difference in the game. While Durant and Harden largely cancelled out each other’s offensive outputs, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry provided Golden State a leg up that Chris Paul and Clint Capela could not. Paul was atypically inefficient, requiring 17 shots to score 23 points, while Capela managed only 17 frontcourt touches in 29 minutes of action, his fewest in any of the four games against the Warriors this season. On the Warriors’ side, Thompson frequently took advantage of wide open shots to finish with 28 points and six threes, while Curry did a fine job managing the game, finishing with 18 points and eight assists. Between Durant, Curry and Thompson, that trio combined to take 60 of the Warriors’ 80 shot attempts in Game 1, the highest percentage of field goals attempted they’ve ever taken in a game for Golden State. It comes as no surprise that the Warriors would lean heavily on that trio, but the fact that they were able to be efficient and productive in that situation is not a positive sign for Houston. If the Rockets are going to even the series up at one game apiece, they’ll likely need to get more production from their own headliners, while doing a better job limiting the effectiveness of Golden State’s.