By Lamar Battle
Will The Houston Rockets ever defeat the Golden State Warriors or will they be frustrated yet again ?
The Warriors won the first game in the NBA Western Conference Semi Finals but the game was wrought with controversy and question marks. Rocket complaint’s about the officiating may or may not be credible.
The biggest issue seemed to be about whether the Warrior players were getting too close for comfort on Rocket jump shooters. NBA rules changes dictate that a shooter has to have room to come down after jumping. (Courtesy Zaza Pechulia and lifetime award winner Bruce Bowen).
Warriors were contesting close,( they understand the rules and how far they stretch) so there was room for doubt and consequently a discussion ensued of epic proportions about NBA refereeing during the playoffs versus the regular season.
However, the larger question remains, do the Rockets have what it takes to beat a Warriors team fresh off of two championships and more than like;y the recipient of some home cooking from the referees or, really, does that make a difference?
NBA referees have always wielded a measure of infinite power when it came to officiating playoff games but this time consideration must be be given to the letter of the law so to speak. Will the Refs abide by regular season rules or will they adjust them for the playoffs?
No matter what Houston will not beat the Warriors.
They are not battle tested on this level. Winners of three NBA titles the Golden State Warriors have run the gauntlet of what it takes to bring the prize home. Steph Curry, Kevin Durrant and Klay Thompson all have valuable experience in close games deep in the playoffs.
The Rockets do not.
Rocket guard James Hardin has set new records and approached NBA legends like Wilt, Kareem and Oscar in his ascent. Chris Paul is an All NBA performer past his prime but still effective and Coach Mike D’Antoni is the arbiter of a style of basketball that has changed the game itself.
Rocket superstar James Hardin has yet to savor the nectar of playoff success going all the way back to his Oklahoma City Thunder days and unfortunately Hardin’s biggest opponent is probably…James Hardin.
None of them have tasted playoff success deep in the playoffs.
Warriors in six.