NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction: Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors - Game 5
The Houston Rockets are right back in the series, having beaten the Warriors 112-108 with a series-tying victory in Game 4. Now, the series returns to Oakland as both teams attempt to gain an advantage.
In game four, James Harden led the Rockets with 38 points and 10 rebounds - while his supporting cast were also on hand for important contributions. Eric Gordon scored 20 points, while PJ Tucker had 17 too. Chris Paul iced the game late on, making one of two clutch free-throws with time running out to close out a closely-fought win after the Warriors, who shot poorly from three-point range, rallied hard late in the fourth quarter.
Austin Rivers also had 10 points off the bench as the Rockets restored level terms in the series with two successive home victories. They performed well in both and certainly needed to, but know there is more work left to do too.
PJ Tucker told the media that they must be more aggressive and "pick it up", meaning the team are aware of their morale-boosting wins but cannot afford to rest on their laurels on their upcoming trip to Oakland, if they want to win this series. Their 5-0 playoff record at home remains intact, while taking advantage of their homecourt shield to avoid a significant deficit .
Warriors need a necessary response after two losses
For the Warriors, their consecutive defeats marks only the second time they've lost successive playoff games since 2017. Ironically, the first time occurred against the Rockets in last year's playoffs - beating them in game four and game five of the Conference Finals. a high level to win the series. They have played well without shooting particularly well - Kevin Durant aside - but not up to their lofty standards.
Durant himself had 34 points in game four, after a 46-point display in game three. He averages 36 ppg this series thus far and is clearly leading by example for a Warriors side struggling for their shooting consistency, particularly from deep.
Steph Curry had an improved performance with 30, despite shooting 29% from three-point range. Klay Thompson scored 11, but a paltry 17% from three. It's clear they need the Splash Brothers to shoot better if they are to win the series.
With that being said, game five should be a good one. The Warriors are back home and have an opportunity to restore their lead - the perfect opportunity for the Splash Brothers to get back into their shooting grove. The Rockets will play well, but the Warriors are naturally expected to take this game.
Predicted starting lineups:
Rockets - Chris Paul (PG), James Harden (SG), Eric Gordon (SF), PJ Tucker (PF) and Clint Capela (C)
Warriors - Steph Curry (PG), Klay Thompson (SG), Andre Iguodala (SF), Kevin Durant (PF) and Draymond Green (C)