HOUSTON – Houston sports fans are getting used to Game 7s.
It wasn't too long ago the Bayou City was celebrating downtown at Minute Maid Park in Game 7 of the ALCS as the Astros beat the Yankees to clinch a spot in the World Series. And then H-town celebrated again after the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series.
Monday night, downtown will be crazy again for another Game 7 as the Rockets look to beat the defending World Champion Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
There's nothing quite like a Game 7 for the players -- everything is on the line in this elimination game. There is no "bouncing back" or "we'll get 'em next time." It's do or die at Toyota Center so you can expect both teams to take things to another level.
Here are some keys for the Rockets:
Play strong ALL four quarters
This sounds obvious. And it is. But the Rockets cannot let up the slack at any point over the 48 minutes. The Warriors cannot continuing taking over in the third quarter and forcing the Rockets to play catch up in the fourth. Getting off to a good start is important, going into halftime with a good lead and then finishing strong in the second half will be key.
If you take a look at every game the Rockets have won this series it has been because of lockdown defense. The offense also feeds off of getting stops, creating turnovers and scoring in transition.
Take care of the basketball
The Rockets cannot have a significant amount of turnovers if they want to beat a team of the Warriors caliber. In Game 6 they had 21 turnovers. The warriors are a team that will make you pay for that and they did, scoring 23 points off of those turnovers. The Rockets will not pull off the Game 7 win if they make those mistakes.