Maybe after having such a fantastic regular season, expectations for Houston were set too high. The Rockets after Game 3 against Utah in the Western Conference semi-finals are 6-2 and 5-3 ATS. In five of these six victories, Houston was mentally and physically engaged and their margin of victory was 18.6 points a contest.
In the three encounters they failed to beat the spread, they barely survived Game 1 against Minnesota and were merely observers in the two losses, barely engaged in any aspect for large portions of time. With this in mind, what does the rest of the series hold for Houston? And what can Utah do to extend the Rockets to the limit and possibly engineer a monumental upset?
Let’s face it, the NBA Playoffs are a hard journey, trying to win 16 games and be called the champions. James Harden and Chris Paul were brought together to give Houston a chance. They do not always mesh well on the floor at the same time, but Mike D’Antoni offense can keep the pressure on the opposing team for 48 minutes with a ball-handler and creator.
However, the fact remains Harden, Paul or D’Antoni have never been to an NBA Finals and while they have playoff experience, it has not been the winning kind when it’s mattered most.