Last season, the Houston Rockets believed they could defeat the mighty Golden State Warriors. The Rockets almost pulled it off, coming a good half away from disposing the all-time juggernaut team.
This year, despite sputtering out of the gates to begin the season, the Rockets are still confident they can take down this even better version of the Warriors. Rockets guard Eric Gordon spoke to reporters after the game and said he believes they are, for the second consecutive season, the biggest threat to the two-time defending champions, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Eric Gordon: “I truly believe we’re their toughest opponent. This is another game to them. We have to continue trying to be a championship team. This is another game to them, but it’s a special win for us.”
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 24, 2019
This is the right kind of mindset that every player from that Rockets locker room should have if they really want to take down this juggernaut team.
And, surely, the Rockets have every right to be confident, too. They have had the Warriors’ number this season, taking all of their three matchups with them so far.
Houston’s confidence only soared higher after once again knocking off Golden State at Oracle Arena on Saturday night. What made this victory more impressive is they did it sans reigning MVP and NBA scoring leader James Harden.
Gordon filled in for Harden’s absence admirably with 25 points on 8-of-20 shooting. All-Star guard Chris Paul played arguably his best game of the season, dishing out a season-high 17 assists to go along with 23 points.
This is the second time the Rockets defeated the Warriors on the road with a depleted lineup. Paul did not suit up in their first matchup in Golden State. That game infamously ended with a heavily contested game-winning 3-pointer from Harden that silenced the Oracle crowd.
These regular-season wins are what the Rockets need for them to truly believe they can still win a seven-game series against the Warriors. While these games may not mean much to Golden State, as Gordon alluded to, these should still give the Rockets a confidence boost should their paths cross once again in the postseason.
Golden State may have the advantage talent-wise, but Houston’s statement wins in the regular season have given them the swagger and utmost belief in themselves.
These two powerhouse squads square off once again on March 13 at the Toyota Center. Will Houston be able to complete the season series sweep?