Jonas Nader

Basketball Daily Dose

print article archives RSS

Dose: Rockets Take 3-2 Lead

Friday, May 25, 2018


Rockets 98, Warriors 94 (Rockets lead series 3-2)


The average margin of victory in Games 1-3 was 25.3 points, but Games 4 and 5 couldn’t have been any better. In a game that featured 16 lead changes and 10 ties, the Rockets once again pulled away late in the fourth quarter with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon leading the charge. Paul scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half and threw some shade at Stephen Curry after a wild contested triple (link). CP3 picked Golden State’s defense apart in the pick-and-roll, continuously daring bigs such as Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and David West to switch out onto him on the perimeter. Needless to say, it worked as Paul added six assists, seven rebounds, three steals and four triples. 

 

However, Houston's chances of advancing to the Finals may have taken a massive hit despite the win and 3-2 series lead, as Paul tweaked his hamstring in the final minute. He wasn’t able to get back on defense and looked completely dejected as he left the court. We don’t have many details about the severity yet, as he was still getting treatment as I’m writing this and he won’t speak to the media or be re-evaluated until Friday afternoon. This isn’t the same hamstring that Paul tweaked in the regular season, but it still sounds very concerning and coach Mike D'Antoni said Paul was “worried.” 

 

D’Antoni confirmed that Eric Gordon would move into the playmaker role if CP3 can’t go in Game 6 on Saturday, something that we saw a lot of during the regular season. Gordon was arguably the MVP of Game 5 with some awesome plays on both ends, finishing with 24 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Gordon gets a 2.4 usage rate bump with CP3 off the floor and his assist rate goes up by 5.1%, so there’s a lot to like about him from a fantasy perspective. 

 

Editor's Note: Fantasy Baseball season is here! Compete in a live fantasy baseball snake draft right now! Drafts take as little as 2 minutes to complete and last just one night. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here's the link

 

James Harden has looked completely gassed lately and he was brutal in Game 5, hitting 5-of-21 from the field for 19 points with three rebounds, four assists, two steals and six turnovers in 39 minutes. He has missed his last 21 3-pointers dating back to the second quarter of Game 4, and nothing short of a monster performance in Game 6 or Game 7 will do if the Rockets have to play without Paul. Harden gets a 6.7 usage rate bump with Paul off the floor, but whether or not he has the energy to deliver is the key here. 

 

Coach Mike D’Antoni promised us that we’d see more of Clint Capela in Game 5 and he kept his word, and the big man responded with 12 points, 14 rebounds and a pair of blocks in 27 minutes. He still lost clutch minutes to P.J. Tucker, but to be fair, Houston’s lineup with Tucker at the five has been devastating for Golden State. Tucker has been incredibly valuable for his defense, rebounding and energy in this series and had another strong game with eight points, nine rebounds and two 3-pointers in 42 minutes. He's now a +16 in this series which is the highest +/- ever posted in a playoff series by a Rocket against the Warriors (h/t StatMuse). More shots will fall into his lap if CP3 sits and he may have to play the full 48 minutes with Houston currently rolling with a 7-man rotation. Trevor Ariza had just six points but played some harassing defense on Kevin Durant, while Gerald Green gave the Rockets a much needed spark off the bench with nine points (three triples). 

 

The Warriors were missing Andre Iguodala (leg bruise) for the second straight game and they definitely felt his absence once again. "He's not healthy enough to play," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "We'll just continue to take it day-to-day.” Iggy was spotted getting up shots and was deemed a game-time call before he was ruled out, but let’s not kid ourselves, he should be out there for Game 6 with Golden State’s season on the line. 

 

The Warriors rolled with Kevon Looney in the starting five again, but as previously mentioned, he and the rest of Golden State’s bigs were exposed in the pick-and-roll and Houston basically attacked whichever non-All-Star was in the game. Kevin Durant scored 29 points with four rebounds, one block and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes, but he disappeared in the fourth quarter for the second straight game — he’s now 1-of-9 from the field in the fourth quarters of Games 4 and 5. Yikes. The ball stopped moving when it landed in Durant’s hand and he finished without a single assist. Ball movement in general has been a huge weakness for the Warriors in this series, as they’ve averaged 16.0 assists in their last two games compared to their regular season average of 29.3. 

 

The Rockets have basically forced the Warriors to play their brand of isolation basketball, but they are also getting the job done defensively, holding Golden State below 95 points in consecutive games — the Warriors are 0-18 in their last 18 games when they are held below 95 (h/t Tommy Beer). 

 

Klay Thompson was listed as questionable to play with a minor knee strain, but seemed fine en route to 23 points with four rebounds, one assist and four 3-pointers in 43 minutes. Stephen Curry scored 22 points with seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes, but had a costly turnover on their final possession. You could argue that Draymond Green still should’ve caught the pass, but Curry should’ve took matters into his own hands and attempted his signature pull-up 3. Green finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, but also had six turnovers.

 

None of Golden State’s role players played particularly well, as David West did pretty much nothing in 12 minutes and Quinn Cook missed three good looks from deep and finished scoreless. I’d like to see more of Jordan Bell at the expense of Looney and West in this series and the numbers support that, as Bell and Golden State’s four All-Stars had a net rating of +32.9 in Games 1-4. Game 6 is set for Saturday in Golden State, but all eyes will be on Houston as they await an update on the status of Chris Paul




Email :Jonas Nader



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Player News: Week 7

    Player News: Week 7
  •  
    Digging for a Trade?

    Digging for a Trade?
  •  
    Dose: Freeman to IR

    Dose: Freeman to IR
  •  
    Dose: Rodgers plays hero again

    Dose: Rodgers plays hero again
  •  
    Dose: Gurley

    Dose: Gurley's big day
  •  
    Silva: Week 6 Matchups

    Silva: Week 6 Matchups
  •  
    Dose: Wentz dominates NYG

    Dose: Wentz dominates NYG
  •  
    NASCAR Fantasy: Talladega

    NASCAR Fantasy: Talladega