One of the most stunning developments of the NBA playoffs so far has been just how vulnerable some of the top teams in each conference have looked through the first few games of the opening round. We’ve seen the Sixers, Raptors, and Nuggets all sputter out of the gate, followed by the Warriors’ historic, humiliating collapse against a feisty Clippers squad that is the early darling of the postseason.
The Houston Rockets, however, have wholly evaded those issues, as they cruised to a second straight blowout win over the Jazz in Game 2 with a breezy 118-98 victory. It was more of the same on Wednesday night from James Harden as he logged a monster triple-double: 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists (and eight turnovers, but who’s counting?) in yet another MVP-caliber effort.
The Jazz’s admirable, yet misguided, tactic of trying to force Harden right all night — co-opted from the Bucks, who executed said strategy to modest success — simply hasn’t worked out the way they thought it would. Instead, it’s left poor, sweet Ricky Rubio in the torture chamber, where Harden has done mean, awful things to him.