– As you know by now the Rockets became the ninth team in NBA history to fight back from a 3-games-to-1 series deficit to advance when they toppled the Clippers in game seven on Sunday. In the first four games of the series, the Clippers scored 109 or more points in every game and averaged 119.5 points per game. In the final three games of the series, the Clippers averaged 103.3 points per game.
– James Harden in final three games of series vs. the Clippers: 26.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 7apg, while shooting 35 percent FG & 24 percent FT. Houston won all three games.
– Josh Smith in series vs. Clippers as a reserve in games 1-4: 9-33 FG (27%), 1-9 3ptFG (11%), 6.3 ppg.
Josh Smith in series vs. Clippers as a starter in games 5-7: 15-26 FG (58%), 7-14 3ptFG (50%), 14.3 ppg.
– Dwight Howard continues to be the playoff leader in rebounding at 13.8 rebounds per game.
– Through injuries and roster changes, the Rockets personnel likely to be used against Golden State is quite different than the group that faced them in the four regular season meetings, all won by the Warriors. The chart below shows the regular season games, minutes and points in the four regular season games.
– The only two Rockets to score 40 total points against the Warriors this season were James Harden (101) and Donatas Motiejunas (52). Note Terrence Jones played in zero games against Golden State this season.
– To help illustrate who actually saw time against the Warriors in the regular season for Houston, take a look at the Rockets offensive rebound leaders vs Warriors this season:
– Josh Smith posted a career high 12 assists against the Warriors this season. But he did that while still with the Detroit Pistons. He nearly posted a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists, though he shot just 6-of-18 and the Pistons lost 104-93. He would play in 11 more games with Detroit, before being waived and signing with the Rockets. He and Corey Brewer played for Houston in just two of the four games against the Warriors in the regular season, with both meetings coming within a month of them joining the team.
– There have only been 10 teams in NBA history to win 67 or more games in a season. The last 67-15 team suffered a major upset in playoffs and three of the current Rockets team/staff played in that series. Golden State beat the 67-15 Dallas Mevericks in the 2007 playoffs. Guard Jason Terry was on that Mavericks team, along with assistant coach Greg Buckner, while player development coach Josh Powell was with the Warriors.
– The Warriors starting five when healthy is Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. They went 50-7 during the regular season, which is the second-best winning percentage in NBA history (min. 40 games started), behind only the 1995-95 Bulls that went 72-10 and won the title that season. Current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was a reserve guard on that team.
– That group has started all 10 games in the playoffs and the Warriors are 8-2. So they have nine losses in 67 games as the starting five and Houston is tasked with beating them four times within seven games.
– Only once in NBA history before this season had a team made over 867 3-pointers in a season. Both the Rockets, who set the new all-time single-season record with 933 3-pointers and the Warriors with 883 3-pointers eclipsed that total this season.
What they’re writing:
Dwight Howard Comes Up Big – Sports On Earth
Rockets need more consistency – SI.com
The collapse – Grantland.com
Number preview: Rockets vs. Warriors – nba.com