Game 3 of the Rockets-Warriors playoff series had both sides see the emergence of a team with some heart, determination, and hunger to win a series. Game 3 was also the first time the caliber of the talent on the roster, primarily at #1 and #2. Through a few chance alley oops from Harden to Howard, the team finally displayed team leadership and ownership of what happens out on the court, through 4 quarters of ball. The win ignited the team, and today’s pregame practice showed that energy has not left the building.
Is it too late to come back, though? Nobody can argue the impact Steph Curry has on any opponent that faces him. He averages just over 30 points per game, and has an accuracy not matched by any single member of the Rockets. His absense in the second half of game 1, game 2, and game 3 gave the Rockets the biggest opportunity they’ll have in the playoffs this year, and it was all but squandered. The first game was an embarrassment, the second game almost the same, but then the Rockets woke up in game three.
The same intensity will be out on the court today, less than an hour away from tip off. Steph Curry will be out there too, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what level he brings back after resting 2 1/2 games. This game is another must-win game for the Rockets if they have a prayer to advance, because they won’t be coming back from 3-1. Not in Oracle Arena, and not if Curry has a say. If the Rockets post a win today, that evens out the series. That also brings another game back to Houston. That is their only chance.
This game will be tough, but will be exciting to watch. I am still of the mind to state this team doesn’t deserve the championship run that their just good enough to stumble in to the playoffs record has allowed them. I still don’t believe that this team has the leadership and drive to make it. I believe they’ll put up a good fight. However, I simply don’t believe it will be enough to drive them to a win this game. I think the effort in the last game was futile, because it came way too late and at a high cost to the team.
In the event I am wrong, and Thursday’s victory was just the start of an ubelievable comeback for the books, then I’ll be speechless. It will be hard to change my opinion about this year’s team, but if that unbelievable comeback happens, it may start to turn. That depends strongly on the Rockets playing hard for at least 3 to 4 more games. In all honestly, I haven’t seen the Rockets play hard for a streak since 2014. Even their best year in recent history, 2015, saw streaks of phoning it in on the court. Especially in the playoffs.
In the event I am right, and I believe fully that I am right. The Rockets will give their deserving fans a final game worthy of shelling out their hard earned bucks in a heartbreaking loss. Today’s game will be worth the view, and will be a rare glimpse of what this team can really do, so do watch. Do see what this team was capable of all year. And then you can start to realize why this team has to be rebuilt when it’s over. But for now, just enjoy the show.