HOUSTON -- It has been 29 years since the Warriors opened a playoff series on the road with back-to-back wins. That’s the goal Wednesday night, when they face the Rockets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
In taking Game 1 on Monday, the Warriors seized homecourt advantage. If they take Game 2, it’ll be the first time they opened with consecutive road victories since 1989, when they won the first two games of a first-round series at Utah en route to a three-game sweep of the best-of-five series.
Moreover, it would put the Warriors in control of the best-of-seven series, which moves to Oracle Arena this weekend.
Rockets by 1.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Kevin Durant vs. James Harden: These two won’t defend each other very often, but whichever star has the more effective overall game gives his team a decided advantage. Harden outscored Durant (41-37) in Game 1 but also committed twice as many turnovers (4-2) and was a welcome mat on defense while Durant played mostly solid defense.
Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is listed as out.
Rockets: No injuries reported.
Ken Mauer, David Guthrie, Ed Malloy, Pat Fraher (alternate)
ROAD TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS
Warriors: Defeated San Antonio in five games in the first round, defeated New Orleans in five games in the conference semifinals.
Rockets: Defeated Minnesota in five games in the first round, defeated Utah in five games in the conference semifinals.
The teams met three times in the regular season, with Houston posting a 122-121 win on Oct. 17 at Oakland, the Warriors taking a 124-114 victory on Jan. 4 at Houston and the Rockets prevailing 116-108 on Jan. 20 in Houston. The Warriors have won 12 of the last 15 meetings in the regular season.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
HOUSTON’S D: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is not generally associated with defense, but his team finished sixth in defensive rating in the regular season and is third in the playoffs. Defense was absent in Game 1, as the Warriors scored 54 points off uncontested shots while shooting 52.5 percent.
CURRY’S RHYTHM: Five games into his return after a long layoff, Stephen Curry continues to seek rhythm and timing. His movements have gotten better, but he clearly is not at his physical peak. He appeared to tweak his left knee in Game 1 but insists it’s a non-issue. He’s still worth keeping on eye on.
WARRIORS DISCIPLINE: While the Rockets were running isolation plays for either James Harden or Chris Paul, who combined for 64 points, they didn’t get much help. Corner shooters PJ Tucker, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute combined to go 3-of-17 from the field. Credit the Warriors for being disciplined. Can they repeat that?