Four Things the Rockets Must Do to Win Game 4

The Rockets need more than James Harden in Game 4 to even the series.
The Rockets need more than James Harden in Game 4 to even the series. Photo by Jeff Balke
After the win over Golden State in overtime of Game 3, it became quickly clear there are some things that probably won't happen again. For one, the Warriors had never lost a game in which Draymond Green had a triple double until Saturday. More critically, it is unlikely that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will have the rough outings they had in Game 3 again.

As great as James Harden has been, there is much more this team must do to get past the Warriors. If they want to even the series, it will take contributions from all over the floor.

Take care of the ball.

When the Rockets turn the ball over, it plays directly into the hands of the Warriors. The Rockets need as many shots as they can against a team like Golden State. Every turnover is one less scoring opportunity against a team that thrives on missed opportunities. More importantly, they create fast breaks, something the Rockets sometimes struggle to defend. Keep the turnovers down and the chances of winning improve dramatically.

Stay close in rebounding.

All season long, the Rockets have been a bad rebounding team. That has continued this postseason, but they have managed to keep it from hurting them. Against Golden State, however, the glass has been a key to victory, particularly on the offensive end of the floor. In Game 3, the Rockets badly out rebounded Golden State, especially on the offensive glass. While turnovers hurt them because of the missed opportunities, offensive rebounds gave them second ones and that will continue to be a key to winning in this series.

Win the battle of the bench.

In the case of the Rockets, it's not just the bench, but the secondary players behind James Harden and Chris Paul. Eric Gordon had a monster game in Game 3 and P.J. Tucker was all over the floor with hustle points. But they are getting important contributions from Austin Rivers, Nene and even Iman Shumpert. The fact is, the Rockets bench, on paper, is superior to the Warriors. It is the one real advantage they have and they need to capitalize on it.

Hit threes.

This is painfully obvious but worth noting. The Rockets will continue to shoot a ton of three pointers, but they must also make a reasonable percentage of them because the Warriors most certainly will. Even with Curry and Thompson off in Game 3, the Warriors still hit well over 40 percent from beyond the arc. The Rockets need to, at bare minimum, shoot a respectable percentage compared to Golden State to keep this series close.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke