The Clippers exposed a team that surmised to turmoil nearly all season long, and now Houston has the defending champs in the same boat LA did: series tied, 2-2.
The defense the Rockets displayed during game 3, especially from midway in the 1st quarter to halftime, is exactly how you beat GS. Don’t allow any spacing on those jumpers; don’t let them make perimeter shots. They closed out shooters by removing the comfort gap without fouling, and it let to an array of bricks. Last night, they built a big enough lead to just barely hang on.
Luckily, Los Angeles was young. They proved unafraid of the Warriors, despite starting two rookies and bringing another off the bench. How did they do it? RELENTLESS PRESSURE ON DEFENSE. Golden State hates that in-your-face style, they want to play fantasy basketball and coast to victory. (Plus injuries are adding up for the skinny prima donnas…)
I’d really like to see Houston take this series after being up 3-2 last year, then losing Chris Paul and eventually the series. Not just because I despise Golden State, but because it’s better for basketball. I think people would be perplexed by a Warrior-less Conference Finals, more people will watch these new young teams, and a fresh champion would be wonderful.
So the blueprint is there. Who wants to follow it and dethrone the champs?