GAME 6 PREVIEW
Keep doubting these Rockets; it has worked well so far
Keep doubting, go ahead.
Keep soaking up the narrative that the national media has been spoon feeding everyone since even before Game 1's tip off.
“The Rockets have no chance.”
“The Rockets are going to get swept.”
“They just don't match up well.”
I bet you took that and ran with it. Plenty of people did. I bet you pointed at the TV screen as the Rockets fell in Game 1 and validated your skepticism to your buddies.
Then Game 2 happened, and Houston beat the brakes off of the untouchable Golden State super team. Houston had drawn blood against Xerxes, proving that they were in fact mortal. Houston fans were offered a faint glimmer of hope.
The next four days gave way to hot takes from the talking head prognosticators who began spreading whispers of heresy regarding the vulnerability of the NBA’s god-king.
Could they fall?
Is this the end of their reign?
The Warriors utilized Game 3 to crush the uprising with gratuitous show of force against the insubordinate upstart Rockets. Order must be restored, and a 41-point victory did just that.
With the status quo returned, Houston was once again given the “dead man walking" treatment.
“They're just too much for Houston.”
“Who will the Warriors play in the finals?”
Unphased by their defeat, the Rockets took to the court and insolently battled back from multiple double-digit deficits to steal a win at Golden State. They then returned home and gutted out a filthy victory to seize a 3-2 series lead in spite of a horrendous shooting performance from James Harden and the last minute loss of Chris Paul.
So here we are. The Rockets are up 3-2 against one of the greatest teams ever assembled in the history of basketball. Golden State is hurt. Houston is hurt. But that's what happens in a battle.
The loss of Chris Paul has seemingly negated the position the Rockets are in by most people following the series. In spite of a 3-2 lead and two convincing back to back victories, the grave has already been dug and the majority of those following this series are already lowering Houston's casket.
The majority of those following this series, however, haven't watched the Rockets all season.
They probably can't tell you that when Chris Paul was out in the beginning of the season, Eric Gordon slid into the starting rotation and the Rockets didn't miss a beat while he averaged 22 points a game.
They probably didn't see Gordon take over and average the same numbers for 10 games straight during Harden's injury either. They simply saw Chris Paul go down and called it a wrap.
This isn't Game 7, and Harden will not stay this cold shooting from range. The Rockets will have to find a way to productively divide roughly 40 minutes of playing time, but the firepower is still there. The main difference is that Houston is far more capable of playing their same style in the midst of injuries than Golden State. The Warriors, in the other hand, have just looked confused with the loss of Andre Igoudala. They have two chances to win just one game, and those are some pretty great odds.
So keep writing them off. Keep coming up with reasons to undermine Houston's performance into mediocrity. It's worked pretty well so far.