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Warriors-Rockets Game 3 Preview

The Rockets-Warriors series now heads to Houston. James Harden and the Rockets must step up at home, especially with uncertainty surrounding Steph Curry.

Moke Hamilton

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Even without Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors were able to emerge victorious over the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of their first-round series, 115-106. As the series moves to Houston with the Rockets desperately trying to avoid the 0-3 hole that no team has ever successfully overcome, they do so with uncertainty surrounding Stephen Curry and his ability to play effectively.

Predictably, without Curry, Klay Thompson was relied upon to shoulder the scoring burden in Game 2—something he did admirably to the tune of 34 points. Shaun Livingston replaced Curry in the starting lineup and contributed a much needed 16 points and six assists while Andre Iguodala gave the team 18 points off of the bench. Even without Curry, so long as Thompson and Iguodala can give the Warriors an efficient 40 combined points, they should have enough to outlast the Rockets in a seven-game series. But how long it takes for the Warriors to emerge victorious will probably depend on Curry’s health.

Heading back to Houston for Game 3, it is safe to assume that the Rockets’ role players will fare better in front of their home crowd. Through the first two games of the series, the Warriors have done an admirable job of stopping everyone not named James Harden from scoring effectively, and even he has been woefully inefficient from the field thus far. Harden has managed to shoot just 14-38 from the field through two games. Because that has mostly been due to the defensive screens and effective pick-and-roll defense the Warriors have employed, it is likely that Harden will have to work very hard for buckets in Game 3 and Game 4.

But whether the Rockets are able to win a game or two in this series may be determined Dwight Howard and whether he can be the best big man on the floor. Through the first two games of the series, he has attempted only 17 shots and has been outplayed by Andrew Bogut on both ends of the floor. Michael Beasley, Clint Capela and Jason Terry are all capable of turning in a double-figure scoring night off the bench, and one of those three are likely to break loose before their home crowd in a do or die Game 3.

If Curry were at or near 100 percent, we would be inclined to take the Warriors in Game 3. But since that isn’t the case, we will give the Rockets the benefit of the doubt and assume that Harden will get enough help from his supporting cast to help his team pull off a win they need to stay alive in the series.

All season long, the Rockets have underachieved, but once the playoffs begin, it’s a brand new season. After finding a way to remain competitive over the course of Game 2, the Rockets will likely approach Game 3 having the mindset that the Warriors simply defended their home court and that they must now do the same as the series moves to Houston. And if there is one thing we learned about this Rockets team last season, it’s that they won’t quit.

Prediction: With Curry not at or near 100 percent, the Rockets find a way to slow Klay Thompson down and steal Game 3.

Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders.

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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Headlines

#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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