The Houston Rockets looked to be in serious trouble after a lackluster performance in Game 1 from everyone not named James Harden, but they bounced back in impressive fashion to dominate the Warriors in Game 2.
While they insist the game plan didn’t change, the way they played certainly did. There was a greater sense of urgency to get into their offense early in the shot clock and the ball moved quicker and more decisively than in Game 1. The result was an offensive onslaught that Golden State is accustomed to seeing from themselves, not opponents, as they seemed overwhelmed on the defensive end trying to figure out how to attack the Rockets.
The ball movement was great and allowed everyone to touch the ball and feel involved, which may have given the role players around Harden and Chris Paul more confidence and comfort in Game 2. Whatever it was, the role players for Houston shot the lights out, as Eric Gordon dropped 27 points in an expanded role, while P.J. Tucker had a monster game with 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including five three-pointers.
With Tucker, Gordon, and Trevor Ariza active and making shots, the Rockets were able to commit to their small-ball lineup and used it to blow the doors off of the vaunted Hamptons 5/Death Lineup of the Golden State Warriors. That lineup, with Andre Iguodala playing alongside the Warriors four All-Stars, had been torching teams this postseason, but has struggled against Houston so far.