After a very sorrowful week for the Houston Rockets, they'll now face the team they've been rooting to overthrow right from the start, the team which also happened to kick them out of the no. 1 spot in the West. Will they be able to do it without Harden's beard?
Warriors are looking for a way to completely achieve dominance. For that to happen, they must defeat the Houston Rockets and take advantage of this short-handed squad.
The good and bad side of Harden's absence
James Harden being missing in action may both have beneficial and harmful effects on the upcoming game.
Harden would not be able to play against Steph Curry. This could've been a great matchup, or a face-off perhaps. It could've been a fierce battle between two MVP potential guards.
He's also Rockets main outside gunner and an all-around offensive trigger. Without him, the pace would be affected significantly.
So what's the good thing about Harden's absence?
The Rockets still has Chris Paul on the roster which also helped hugely to defeat Lakers in a breathtaking 2-overtime brawl.
Besides, James Harden wasn't doing well in the past games. His extreme scoring led to the teamplay stagnancy which led the Rockets 5 straight losses, 2 of which he scored over 50 points.
Maybe Rockets would improve and step right back up on its feet without the beard. They'll find team rhythm once again and unleash winning streaks this time.
Warriors would look to dominate through outside shooting
As obvious as it may appear, of course, Warriors would even take more advantage of the splash brothers especially now that Rockets are short handed to outside gunners. They'll root for Curry and Klay to connect swiftly from the outside while KD and Green would take care of the paint.
In fact, Draymond can also drill the hoop from beyond the arc especially during the Dallas game. Outside shooting became very vital and every miss were fatal. The game was as close as it could get until Steph dropped the three-point bomb to break away from the 122 deadlock. Green's jolting threes were of big help and may be as dangerous as the Splash Brothers because of its unpredictability.
Rockets on Paul's shoulders
With the beard gone, Paul's going to suffice Harden's productivity at the highest level he could reach. Capela and Harden didn't work out too well recently. It's time for him to try and find a way to awaken their sleeping beast inside.
If the Rockets would fall on the hands of the Warriors, their race to the top spot is over and Warriors would tighten its grip with the San Antonio Spurs left to take down.