Repeat after me: The Rockets could upset the Warriors. You've heard that sentiment before. This season, last season, the one before that. From podcasts, from your uncle in Houston, from your own inner monologue. "The Rockets could beat the Warriors" is an opinion somewhere between brave and foolish-this is known as a take-hedged with word-choice; they could beat Golden State, just as Kobe Bryant could coach the Lakers or Zion Williamson could stay another year at Duke.
See, Houston has made fools of men before. Burned them. Once, has it, 27 times over. But could soon be champions, hold out this 1
A picture breaks a thousand ankles. And the video is pretty good, too.
Harden's shot did not go in), Harden's standing alone later felt symbolic of Houston's place in the West through the conclusion of Game 2s. Denver and San Antonio have both lost one; Utah and Oklahoma City are down two; Portland, though more convincing than ever through two wins, is not at Houston's threat level. And Golden State, Well, Golden State blew a 31-point lead, the biggest in playoff history, against Los Angeles on Monday.
But the context of a historically bad warrior's loss is not really necessary for full confidence in the Rockets. It helps Houston's case, sure, but does Harden logging the third playoff triple-double of his career (32 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists), or P.J. Tucker's four 3s and Clint Capela's three blocks, or a 20-point win despite Chris Paul's shot not falling, and the fact that every Rocket who logged more than 11 minutes to make it to the line on Wednesday. The Rockets will do the jazz last postseason, as it seems they will soon be during the playoffs, but on shakier terms. They lost that Game 2 at home-this time, no intensity was lost. Utah was never close; Houston no longer seems as good as he or she is. At the end of the first quarter, the Rockets had 39 points, the Jazz had 19, and Harden had 17. (It's worth mentioning that Utah's defensive strategy-one that Milwaukee employed this season-might've helped Harden more than it limited him It is not work in Game 1, and, to no one's surprise, it did not play in Game 2, either.)
Keeping Round 1 as it is best for the Rockets for reasons other than keeping focus. Houston fresh: Harden played 3 minutes in both games, while injury-prone CP3 averaged even fewer. For the Rockets, there's less of a gap between and than ever before.