While Coach Nick of BBALLBREAKDOWN suggests that Dwight Howard's absence from the Houston Rockets could have a major impact on the 2015 Western Conference Finals, GSoM's Jared Stearne has suggested that Dwight Howard might not be as important to their success as people might assume.
We might have an additional data point to add to that argument after tonight's Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, which Howard might not play in.
Dwight Howard remains a game-time decision for Game 2. Clint Capela will start at center if Howard can't go. pic.twitter.com/OpB29qRV0W— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 21, 2015
I tend to lean toward Jared's position on this generally, but especially agree with some of his points when the Rockets are up against a small ball team with two NBA All-Defensive team members in the frontcourt — that's not to say that Howard isn't important to the Rockets' success, but perhaps that his absence will push them to look at different options on the offensive end that makes them more effective (there's definitely some potential Ewing Theory fodder in this thought experiment).
Either way, the key to this game for both teams will be figuring out how to contain the All-NBA players on the floor without letting other players take advantage of the gaps in that scheme.
Let's hope for 2-0.