Can we go back to calling this the real NBA Finals?
The Rockets looked out of position at times defensively in Game 1, something no team can get away with against the Warriors. They paid the price Monday, but on Wednesday, they were locked in. Houston ran Klay Thompson off the 3-point line early (limiting him to 3-for-11 shooting), and for the second straight game, held Stephen Curry to just one trey.
Meanwhile, Curry doesn't appear 100 percent. He has scored just 34 points in two games on 16.3 percent 3-point shooting. He admitted after Game 1 that he tweaked something, which is worth monitoring going forward.
Tucker was absent in Game 1, going 0-for-3 with one point. On Wednesday, he scored a playoff career-high 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting. How efficient was he? All of his points either came on corner threes or at the rim.
Thirteen of his points came in the second quarter when the Rockets essentially put the game away while shooting 70 percent as a team.
Tucker's frontcourt partner Ariza bounced back as well. After throwing off the Rockets' equilibrium with foul trouble in Game 1, Ariza shot a scorching 7-of-9 with 19 points.
The hand-wringing over their iso-ball was probably overstated after getting bogged down in Game 1, because Houston certainly knows how to attack. James Harden had a rough shooting night (3-of-15 from deep) Wednesday, but the Rockets worked their magic and were able to get out in transition, exploit matchups, and create shots. Tucker sliced and diced Draymond Green in isolation, while he, Ariza, and Eric Gordon regularly freed themselves from a discombobulated Warriors D for open looks.
Oh, and the Rockets can pass the ball when they want to.
There's now a three-day break before Game 3 in Oakland on Sunday.