The Golden State Warriors, up 2-0 on the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals, have every reason to be confident as the series shifts to Toyota Center. Entering Saturday's Game 3, though, Andre Iguodala and company know Houston will be pulling out all the stops to avoid falling behind an insurmountable three games to none.
Andre Iguodala on what to expect in Game 3 pic.twitter.com/g74znIK4DX
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 4, 2019
The unfortunate truth for Mike D'Antoni's team is that there are only so many adjustments it's capable of making.
The Rockets, having long ago committed full tilt to an isolation-heavy offense that places a historic burden on James Harden's shoulders, are resigned to that style of attack not just due to a lack of dynamic offensive personnel, but also because the Warriors switch most every ball screen that doesn't involve Steph Curry. Houston doesn't have many options available on the other side of the ball, either, again beset by the rippling pitfalls of a fully-ingrained defensive identity and objectively inferior personnel.
But home-court advantage matters, and so do the inevitable realities of a team's collective back being against the wall. The Rockets were 4.1 points per 100 possessions better at Toyota Center than on the road during the regular season, with James Harden's efficiency, in particular, increasing significantly. Houston is a prideful group, too; no team led in part by Chris Paul, even in his diminished state, will ever go down easy.
Golden State was a considerable favorite coming into this series, and proved why in its first two games at Oracle Arena. We'll see if the Rockets can make the Conference Semifinals competitive when Game 4 tips off at 8:30 p.m. EST.