OAKLAND - The Houston Rockets are on the ropes. They are clinging to hope, but they are walking into a sold out Oracle Arena down 3-1 to the World Champs. The outlook is bleak.
“We’re ready to go,” J.B. Bickerstaff declared before Wednesday’s game. “We believe in our guys. We believe we’re prepared and we’ve got to win. If we don’t win, we go home and nobody’s ready to go home yet.”
The Warriors are ripe for the picking. NBA MVP Stephen Curry is sidelined with a right knee issue. He isn’t scheduled to return this series, but the Warriors are about as deep a team as there is in the league.
If the Rockets are going to have any chance of pulling an upset, they are going to have to find a consistency that has been lacking from this team all season long. This group is a shell of the team that went 56-26 last season and lost to this same Warriors group in the Western Conference Finals.
“Right now the only thing that matters is today,” Bickerstaff said. “The only thing that matters is us playing our best game. Our most focused, our most determined, our most aggressive game so far has to be today.”
We’ve seen moments with this team throughout the series. After taking game three in Houston, the Rockets went into the intermission tied at 56-56 in game four before getting blown out in the second half.
They have the talent to compete, but there is something missing from this club this season. Moment to moment you have no idea what you will get from them. Offensive outburst have given them leads and defensive breakdowns have handed it right back.
“It can’t just be flashes, it has to be 48 minutes of it,” Bickerstaff added. “Here on the road in a tough environment versus a really good team, flashes won’t get it done.”
Houston is up against it. Elimination is staring them in the face. Will they respond or will they fall flat once again?