What we’re talking about: Rockets sputter when it matters most
If I didn’t watch the game, there’s no way I would believe it. The Houston Rockets were at full strength, at home, needing a win to keep their season alive in Game 6. Golden State had no Kevin Durant (calf injury) and his fellow MVP Stephen Curry was scoreless in the first half. The Rockets got this one going away right? Nope. When the time came to rise up, they shrunk under the pressure and in doing so, found a new low in what will be remembered as one of the biggest blown opportunities any team has had to knock off the Golden State dynasty. Golden State 118, Houston 113. Curry with 33 points, all in the second half. This adds yet another chapter to the narrative that another MVP, James Harden, is all buckets and no banners while the Warriors showed a level of championship mettle we had not seen from them in quite a while. They did what the great teams do; see adversity head-on and find a way.
What we’ll be watching: And then there were two...
Get your popcorn ready because we got two, yes two, winner-moves-on Game 7 tilts on the docket Sunday with the Toronto Raptors hosting the Philadelphia 76ers and the Portland Trail Blazers traveling to the Mile High City to face the Denver Nuggets.
After so many years of being LeBron’d out of the playoffs, the Raptors have the best player in the series, depth and home-court advantage. But Philly can’t be counted out, especially the way Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons have been balling out. As important as those three will be, the difference-maker in this game will be Joel Embiid. He has battled an assortment of health-related issues this entire series. If he can get past all that and play like the all-star talent he is, the Sixers will advance. But if he’s still struggling to put his imprint on the game, Kawhi Leonard and the rest of his T-Dot crew will have very little trouble sending the Sixers home for the summer.
As for the Denver-Portland series, guard play will rule the day. For the Blazers, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Rodney Hood - he has been ballin’ in this series like he’s back in Durham, N.C. running Coach K’s plays at Duke - will be huge while the Nuggets have a potent 1-2-3 punch in Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Malik Beasley who like Hood, has been a major spark plug for his team coming off the bench.
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