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Rockets Know The Close-Out Game Will Be Toughest Of All

Rockets have two chances to finish off Golden State, but they know it won't be easy

May 25, 2018 - 10:13 am
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HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- The Rockets locker room was quiet following their 98-94 game five win Thursday night inside Toyota Center. That's not to say there wasn't noise, a room full of reporters is never quiet especially when some of those reporters are getting in the way of a camera man's shot, but the Rockets players were quiet. There was no excitement, there was no shouting from the back, there was no sign that they had won pulled out the franchise's biggest win in over two decades. The reason why was simple: being 3-2 doesn't matter if you don't get the fourth win, and that fourth win is going to be tough to get.

“Playing against the defending champions, they’ve been in so many different situations, so it’s not going to be easy," Rockets forward Trevor Ariza said. "None of these games have been easy, it’s just been about us staying confident, staying focused, staying poised, and I believe we can go up there and win.”

The Rockets will practice at Toyota Center Friday before making the trip to Oakland for Saturday's game six. Since losing game one last Monday, the Rockets have comeback to hand the Warriors as many losses in the last four games as they had in the 28 playoff games prior, but beating the Warriors a fourth time is going to be different especially at Oracle Arena. 

“To close it out is probably gonna be 10 times harder than any of the games that we’ve already won," Rockets forward P.J. Tucker said. "Especially going there Saturday, the enviroment’s going to be crazy, they’re going to be amped up, and they’re going to come to take our head’s off, so we’ve gotta be prepared.”

As if the task wasn't tough enough, the Rockets could be without Chris Paul, who left game five with 22.4 seconds left due to a right hamstring injury. Whether he plays or doesn't, James Harden says the Rockets approach will stay the same.

For us, nothing changes. We just take game by game, possession by possession, try to compete our butts off, and give ourselves the best chance. We've been doing it since Game 1, and nothing changes for us."

If the Rockets can't win in Oakland Saturday they still get game seven at home, but as each player quietly walked to the middle of their locker room into the middle of a throng of reporters and quietly walked out after they were done answering questions, nobody mentioned game seven. The Rockets want to close the Western Conference Finals the hard way: on the road in the NBA's toughest place to play, and Ariza thinks they are up the challenge. 

“Going into close out games are always the hardest ones, especially with a team of that caliber. They have a lot of weapons, a lot of players that can score the basketball. They have a couple of the best players in the world, so for us, it’s not worrying about what they do, it’s about us staying locked in to what we do, going up there and playing hard and trying to get a win.”