Warriors look to sweep away Houston

With a 2-0 lead heading into Saturday’s Game 3, it doesn’t look like the Western Conference Finals are going to be too much trouble for the Warriors.

The Rockets will more than likely come out with a flash of energy hoping to steal the first game in Houston, continue to trap Stephen Curry, and James Harden will no doubt continue to be an offensive beast.

But these tactics have not been successful for Houston, and hardly guarantee success against Golden State.

Harden came close to a triple-double Game 1 and 2 (short just one assist in both games), scoring more than 30 points in both contests. Dwight Howard is playing with a severe bone bruise on his knee, and Trevor Ariza has knocked down big shots. For all of it, it still wasn’t enough.

The Rockets have also come close to winning — just one point away in Game 2 — but close doesn’t count in playoff games, and the tactics they will most likely employ are ones the Warriors are familiar with.

Houston’s success late in Game 2 came when the Rockets were trapping Curry. But as Curry said after the game, that strategy is usually beneficial for the Warriors:

“We’ve seen that before … but if you just be patient, you have a 4‑on‑3 advantage, and usually good things happen for us.”

Curry is right. More often than not, a trapping defense frees up Draymond Green or Harrison Barnes for wide-open, feet-set, momentum-building threes.

Harden has been amazing, hitting a ridiculous amount of contested shots over Klay Thompson. But defense usually wins out, and whether its Thompson contesting or the Warriors throwing defensive specialist Andre Iguodala on the MVP runner-up, Harden will have to continue to fight.

The spark a team gets when playing at home is not something to brush away, and with how close the Rockets have come to winning it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think they will win a game in Houston.

But the Warriors seem poised and ready to respond.

Prediction

The Warriors sweep Houston and await the NBA Finals.


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