5 reasons why the Rockets can’t stop the Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are the defending champions of the NBA. They have beat nearly every team imaginable to get to where they are, and they sit on the throne as the team to beat. Love them or hate them, the Warriors definitely have the edge over other NBA teams, even if the team is the Houston Rockets. In today’s NBA, it’s a copycat league. Other teams emulate the success of the team that’s winning. This has proved to be true for the Houston Rockets, who recently added Chris Paul to the fold this summer. You would think that this trade would help shorten the gap between the two teams. The reality is that it hasn’t.
The Golden State Warriors still boast two NBA MVPs, a three-point shooting champion, and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. If they can stay healthy, the Warriors are virtually unstoppable. Though, here are some more reasons why the gap between the two teams is as large as ever.
5. They don’t have enough defense
To beat the defending NBA champions, a team needs to have a great defense. Actually, a team needs to have an immaculate defense. The Cleveland Cavaliers learned this the hard way when Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry scored all over them in the NBA Finals. Fortunately, the rockets have a top 10 defense. Unfortunately, a top 10 defense isn’t going to stop one of the greatest offenses of all time. Let’s dissect the Rocket’s main defenders. There is Chris Paul, Clint Capella, Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, and P.J Tucker. Individually, all of these players are solid defenders. However, they play great team defense.
Against the Warriors, team defense simply won’t be enough. To negate the Warriors’ high octane offense, you’ll have to stop Stephen Curry. The problem is that none of the defenders above have the quickness to deal with Curry off the dribble, and if they double, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson will be open. James Harden is a solid defender and will have to guard Klay Thompson all night. Chris Paul will most likely guard Curry, which isn’t something that Rockets fans should get happy about. Kevin Durant will be most likely be guarded by a slew of rotational players. That simply won’t do. A terrific defense that commits no mistakes can beat the Warriors, but a good defense will only prolong the series.
4. They can’t run with the Warriors
The Rockets so far have the best offense in the NBA. The team is full of play-makers, slashers, and three-point shooters, which is a recipe for a great offense. However, we still haven’t seen the full capacity of the Rocket’s offense. Although the Warriors and Rockets’ first game tells us nothing about how they will play in future match-ups, we can still surmise that the Rockets won’t ever outscore the Warriors. The Rockets won by only one point, with a score of 122-121. Both teams scored high, but there was no indication that the Rockets would ever outscore the Warriors. In fact, in the first quarter, the Rockets themselves got blitzed almost to the point of no return.
From just that small sample, it’s safe to say that the Rockets can’t outscore the Warriors. This is simply because the Warriors have a historically great offense. They have gotten off to a rocky start but the Warriors just seem to be bored. This may sound like a cheap excuse, but the results lie in the NBA Finals. Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Warriors on Christmas Day in a close game. In the Finals, the Cavaliers got torched. It’s not an excuse. It’s simply what has happened in the last few years.
3. The Warriors play amazing defense
Unlike the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors have been playing amazing defense for three years. Backed by their defensive anchor, Draymond Green, their defensive effectively clogs the passing lanes, contains perimeters shooters, and can secure stops down the stretch. Kevin Durant is right now playing like the Warriors’ defensive ace. He is blocking shots at an incredible rate and playing outstanding defense. The question should not be can the Warriors slow down the Rockets. It should be whether the Rockets have the offense to fight for shots and field goals. After all, the Warriors’ defense is the real thing.
If you don’t believe it, go back and watch the 2017 NBA Finals where Klay Thompson played brilliant defense on Kyrie Irving. In fact, you can watch it.
The Warriors have experience handling high impact offenses. If anything, the Houston Rockets have to adjust.
2. The Warriors are deeper
The Warriors have arguably added more depth to their team with acquisitions such as Nick Young, Jordan Bell, and Omri Casspi. So far, all of these additions are having great seasons with the Warriors, and they look prepared to help the team in the long run. The Houston Rockets have their own key piece in PJ Tucker and Chris Paul, but the Warriors got deeper as a championship team. The Rockets have become a title contender. It’s a big difference. The Warriors can rest their starters comfortably knowing that their offense will stay intact.
The Rockets, however, have to keep a playmaker on the floor. This can serve as the team’s Achilles heel, especially in the postseason. Injuries and playing time have a common correlation, so playing your starters into the ground won’t be a good idea. For the Rockets, can Chris Paul hold up the entire season? Maybe. If he doesn’t, can the Rocket’s depth sustain the Warriors?
1. The Warriors have closers
Kevin Durant’s three point shot in the 2017 NBA Finals, over LeBron James, was the shot heard around the world. It signified that Durant is tried and true clutch-time performer that can get the Warriors buckets down the stretch. Stephen Curry is a clutch-time performer in his own right, and his wide range can be a problem in late-game situations. Much like the Warriors and Rockets’ previous match-up, the games between these two teams should be close. If so, the Rockets will have to choose their poison. Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant? They simply can’t contain both players.
In crunch time, getting stops and making shots matter. It’s surely not to say that the Rockets can’t get stops or shoot down the stretch, but they will have a hard time containing the Warriors. Therefore, in sum, the Rockets realistically won’t have a shot at stopping the Warriors. The team is just too good and seasoned, looking poised to win yet another title this year.