The Golden State Warriors are in Houston with a 2-0 lead and everybody’s talking about it. GSoM teamed up with the Houston Rockets blog community “The Dream Shake” for a Q&A session ahead of Game 3. We asked one of their best, Conrad Garcia, the hard-hitting questions and he gave us some great answers in return!
Last May the Rockets held a 3-2 lead on the Warriors. Since then, the Warriors have won 4 straight playoff games against Houston. What is your confidence level that the Rockets can snatch back momentum from Golden State and impose their will?
Oh, so we’re just going to gloss over the regular season, huh? Just kidding. Well, I’d be slightly more concerned about the four-straight losses if two of those weren’t without Chris Paul. Still, being down 2-0 to the team like the Warriors doesn’t grant you any confidence, and it shouldn’t. But if you were to gauge my confidence in a bad situation, it’s pretty solid.
The Rockets have been right there with the Warriors in the first two games, and things like turnovers and rebounding has been killing Houston, not necessarily shooting. Also, things go differently if Kevin Durant can’t takeover, the only bad thing is that I don’t think it’s possible for KD not to take over whenever he wants.
Things can either go the Rockets’ way on Saturday and they can figure the small things out and get a good win, or the Warriors see the chance to step on the Rockets’ throat, dig deep, go supernova, and get a 3-0 lead. Overall, 50% confident.
Chris Paul’s injury forever changed the 2018 WCF. Sadly, we’ll never know what the series outcome would have been if CP3 could have finished it out. He’s back this year, what do you feel are the expectations for him in this series, and is he living up to them?
Last year, looking forward to the 2019 playoffs, expectations were very high for him. Chris Paul felt like one of the pieces the Rockets needed, and he was going to be the difference-maker. After CP3 limped most of the regular season, it was hard to truly say he was going to be the same guy from last year, so the expectations lowered, but that was OK because it was expected for Capela to take that leap in the playoffs. Then we get here and Clint Capela is a no-show, and now the expectations are raised on Paul yet again.
That’s just the set up. To actually answer your question: no, he hasn’t lived up to expectations. He’s been solid, but Houston really needs him to take over at times, and that just doesn’t seem possible. I still think he’s very capable of taking over a game, but I’d love to see it more than contemplate on it.
Andre Iguodala. Could you explain your estimation of his impact during the first two games, and whether his value has increased, decreased, or stayed the same in your mind since the 2018 Western Conference Finals?
I actually really love this question because, not only is it funny, but it’s a great time for you to ask about him. Iguodala has far and away been much more valuable to the Warriors this series than in 2018. With DeMarcus Cousins out and Curry and Klay under-performing, he’s picked up so much slack on both ends.
He and Draymond Green have been a complete nuisance this playoffs. He’s arguably the third most important player to the Warriors right now. He’s playing good defense, I don’t think I’ve seen him take a bad shot, and he’s getting in the paint. Andre Iguodala been fantastic.
There are rumors that Clint Capela may be benched in favor of Austin Rivers. What do you think of that potential move as to how it would affect this series?
My guy Colin Connors did a great job of explaining Capela’s struggles with Golden State. In mostly any scenario, I don’t want Capela to sit, but he’s struggling and can be a liability at times. Personally, I’d love to see him be more aggressive and work through it because he truly is a great, young talent, but the Rockets have to win a game.
The Warriors aren’t big at all and don’t try to play big, so this is when the move would be most acceptable. I think it results in better spacing, defense, and more points for Houston. How Golden state can exploit it, I’m not sure, but they’ll definitely do their best to find a way. This isn’t the best answer in the world because the Rockets have always been their best with Harden, Paul, and Capela on the floor, so I’ll just have to say, “we’ll see.”
The Warriors held serve at home. For the Rockets to do the same, what area(s) of improvement are you looking for from them?
They’ve actually been shooting well, but I’d love to see them get more open shots and consistently knock the three-ball down just as a rule of thumb. Truly, they have to lower their turnovers and get more rebounds. That’s what’s been killing them.
Harden and Paul have to look to be aggressive and takeover more. I would also love to see Capela really get going and assert himself down low on both ends. It’s really felt like he’s be the difference, or lack thereof, this playoffs.
Hakeem Olajuwon or James Harden: which guy in their prime are you starting your team with?
This question isn’t fair because I’m so biased towards Hakeem and bigs in general. If you have a big that can bang down low, stretch the floor, and play exceptional defense, why would you go anywhere else? A player’s ability to clog up the paint is so underrated. I know that sounds crazy in today’s age to take a center, but I also think Hakeem’s game evolves in this day, as well, and he looks to extend his shot to the outside.
We’re also talking about a guy who was in the top ten in scoring for forever, had the coldest post game to ever exist, is No.1 in NBA history in shot-blocking, and carried a team to a championship twice. There are very few players I’d take over Olajuwon. BELIEVE THAT.