The Houston Rockets lost Game One AT HOME to the defending NBA Champs, the Golden State Warriors. Now, Game Two is a must win for Harden and the Rockets. James Harden and the Houston Rockets have just one shot at dethroning the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Playoffs: Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
Houston can’t lose Game 2 and head to Oakland and expect to win the Western Conference Finals. They just can’t. It’s is possible? Anything is possible to those who believe. But this one I gotta see. Judging by the way the Warriors played in Game One Monday night, it just aint gonna happen.
So all of the chips are down and all of the money is on Harden coming through in a clutch, do or die situation, one which the Rockets have been waiting for since Harden jumped ship and left OKC for Texas. And since they acquired Chris Paul after he jumped ship from the NBA’s graveyard, I mean the LA Clippers last summer, they’re supposed to be built to win now. Well, now has come.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni never had any doubt that the Harden-Paul duo would work, having been on the Team USA staff when they played together in the 2012 London Olympics. “I say sometimes flippantly that there isn’t really a superstar store in the NBA where you get to go and pick out which one you want,” Rockets GM Daryl Morey said.
Making it fit and making something happen works only when you have chemistry. And this year, the Rockets certainly had chemistry and “fit”. The Rockets rolled to the NBA’s best record (65-17) and earned their chance to meet the defending champions in the Western Conference finals in large part because of a series of summer moves Morey executed with beating the Warriors in mind.
I love what Morley said about taking advantage of opportunities: “You have to jump on the opportunities as they come and sometimes make them fit. But in this case, we didn’t really have to [make them fit]. The fit was really incredible from day one.” Morey acknowledged that he particularly wondered how the “alpha dogs” would coexist in crunch time. The answer: even better than the Rockets could have reasonably hoped.
But it will all be for naught if they lose tonight.