The top-seeded Houston Rockets look to get back on track against the defending champion Golden State Warriors when they meet for Game 2 of the West finals on Wednesday night.
Game 2 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on TNT. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including TNT. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: TNT is included in all four of DirecTV Now’s channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
If there was ever such a thing as a must-win game this early in a seven-game series, this is probably it for the Rockets. Following a 119-106 defeat in Game 1, Houston can’t really afford to fall down by two games with the series set to head back to Oakland.
Only one problem: the Warriors are really good .
In Game 1, James Harden poured in an efficient 41 points on 24 field-goal attempts (14-24 FG, 5-9 3PT, 8-10 FT), Steph Curry less than two three-pointers (1-of-5) for just the third time all season–and the Dubs still rolled to a 13-point win.
Even with Curry not doing his normal damage from the outside, the Warriors were still a force on the offensive end, as they relentlessly attacked Harden. Curry found other ways to the contribute, getting to the rim and setting up teammates with an 8-to-1 AST:TO ratio. Kevin Durant was largely unguardable, pouring in 37 points. Klay Thompson hit six threes on his way to 28 points. Overall, they finished 52.5 percent from the field with an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 122.7.
For Houston, it marked their worst defensive rating of the postseason and the fourth-worst mark of the entire year. They had no answers.
If the Rockets are going to turn this back into the competitive series it was hyped up to be, Harden is going to need some help. Chris Paul had 23 points, but he felt invisible for large stretches of the game. Trevor Ariza was limited to 23 minutes due to foul trouble. Eric Gordon had a sloppy 15 minutes to go with his four turnovers. PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute and Gerald Green, important role players for most of the year, combined for seven points.
Not only will they be important in making the offense more efficient (their 102.7 points per 100 possessions was the team’s third-lowest mark of the postseason), but they can take some pressure off Harden, who seemed to tire down the stretch and was thus relentlessly attacked on the defensive end.
The Rockets aren’t a 65-win team for nothing. They’re better than they showed for most of Game 1. The question that remains, though, is if that’s enough to topple a Warriors team whose starting lineup–aka the Hamptons Five–is an absurd plus-56 in the five games (71 minutes) since Curry returned.
Game 2 will be an interesting one. The Warriors are looking to continue to strengthen their case as one of the best teams in NBA history, but the Rockets should respond with their backs largely against the wall. The end result should be an entertaining, offensive slugfest.