Keys to Houston Rockets win in Game 1 against Golden State Warriors

By Randy McIlvoy - Sports Director

HOUSTON - Let's face it, this series is the one everybody has been waiting for. Most wish it was the Western Conference finals but instead it's the West Semifinals.

We'll take it!

The Rockets and Warriors,  two of the NBA's juggernauts, clash in Game 1 beginning Sunday in Oakland.

To say the court will be filled with star power is an understatement.  

Harden and Paul for Houston while Golden State has the foursome of Durant, Curry, Thompson and Green.

Buckle up, because these clubs meet again on the heels of the seven-game thriller last spring when Golden State won both Game 6 and Game 7 against a Rockets squad playing without Paul, who was out with a hamstring injury.

It's a new year and it is another shot for Houston to determine the champs. Golden State was tested and pushed around by the Clippers before the Warriors got serious and blew LA out in Game 6 Friday night while the Rockets were resting comfortably in the Bay Area where they arrived Friday.

Keys to Game 1:

1. Rockets get open looks and hit a high percentage of 3-pointers. If they are off the mark it will be tough to win. Harden, Tucker and Paul will have the green light as will most on the floor.

2.  Harden and Warriors defense: We all saw what the Jazz did on the Beard defensively by forcing him to go right and inside the lane to get his shots over Gobert. It was similar to what Milwaukee did, too, and Golden State may try it, as well. Harden shot under 40 percent against Utah.  That will need to improve again the Warriors for Houston to have a chance. 

3. Three-Point Frenzy: Get ready again to see the three's coming from all directions for both teams.   Harden, Paul and Tucker in the corner knocking them down is key. Golden State thrives on spreading it around and setting the tempo. 

4. Capela: He is healthy after battling two viruses and is Houston's X-Factor.  He and Harden need to be in the same page for the lobs. Golden State will counter with Andree Bogut and Kevon Looney to clamp down on Capela.  

5. Coaching: two great coaches in this series with Steve Kerr and Mile D'Antoni. The respect for each other and they let their guys play which will make this series fun to watch. 

Here we go!  Rockets and Warriors get it going Sunday afternoon and Tuesday Night at Oracle Arena.

Coverage on air on KPRC Channel 2 and online at Click2Houston.com.

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