Photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today

Rockets Look For Fixes After Dropping First Two Games

Harden on games one and two: "They outscrapped us"

May 03, 2019 - 1:45 am

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- If you ask the Rockets,  X’s and O’s have anything to do with their 0-2 series deficit against the Golden State Warrior.s

“They outscrapped us,” Rockets guard James Harden said of the first two games at Oracle Arena.

The Rockets reconvened for practice Thursday, and the mood on the floor at Toyota Center was businesslike. Heading into a must-win game three Saturday night, they know exactly what needs to change of they want to get back in the series.

“Play harder,” Rockets forward P.J. Tucker said. “Control what you can control, and that’s play harder. We’re not playing hard right now.” 

The Rockets lack of effort by some of the numbers, especially rebounding where the Warriors have grabbed 26 boards of their own missed shots, 18 alone in game two. That led to 20-second chance points in a game the Warriors won by six. 

“We’re losing the game because, it’s real simple,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They’re taking more shots at the basket than we are. We’re actually shooting a little bit better than they are, they’re taking more shots because we have too many turnovers, and we’re not rebounding the basketball, and we’ve gotta cure those two problems. We do that we’ll be fine, if we don’t, then obviously this series is not going to be as good as we want it to be.”

Turnovers were more of an issue Tuesday night when the Rockets gave the ball away 18 times, leading to 24 points, but in the first quarter, the Rockets committed nine turnovers. Golden State scored 29 points in that period, 14 came off Rockets giveaways. The Rockets trailed by nine after 12 minutes in game two after facing the same deficit following the opening quarter of game one, so Houston is -18 in the first quarter during this series, and +8 in the other six.

“We’ve played eight quarters,” D’Antoni said. “The first two quarters of each game they’ve won. The next six quarters, we’ve either tied or beat them, so we’ve got areas that we’ve gotta get better. We’ve gotta come out of the gates better. We’ve gotta win the first quarter, we gotta set the tone, and then we gotta continue that tone, obviously, but there are areas that we are doing well, and we gotta keep it there, and gotta improve the other part.” 

D’Antoni doesn’t believe changing personnel is what is needed to start games better. He said Thursday his starting lineup will remain the same, but Harden gave his idea for how the Rockets can avoid falling behind early Saturday night. 

“We haven’t been in attack mode. We’ve been on our heels. At the start of the games, we’re always playing from behind, we’re playing catch up, and so we don’t know what they’re taking away because we haven’t been aggressive enough.”