Well, it’s official. The San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets will face off in the second round of the 2017 NBA playoffs. The two teams have long been rivals, as they play in the same division (and state), which has led to numerous memorable encounters.
However, these two teams, despite all of their success (especially from the Spurs), haven’t faced off in the playoffs since the 1995 season, in which the Rockets won and went on to win the NBA championship.
This is a rare playoff match-up between the two teams, and sets up a series pitting two incredibly different teams against each other. The Spurs prefer a slow-paced, grind it out type of game, while the Rockets want to engage in an up-tempo shootout. The contrast in styles makes this match-up incredibly interesting.
The Spurs won the regular season series 3-1, but the Rockets easily could have split the series. They held a double digit lead in the second game at home with a couple of minutes remaining, but went on to have a disastrous final three minutes or so, allowing the Spurs to steal the game.
There are 2 key for the Rockets in this series: 1) continue to play good team defense and 2) hit your three-pointers. In the first round of the series, the Rockets accomplished the first key, but failed to hit threes against the Thunder. While the Rockets still won the series, they must hit their shots in order to beat a much better team in the Spurs.
The series starts Monday May 1st in San Antonio. Both teams should be rested after having several days off between the first and second round, and both teams are healthy. With that being said, I am predicting the Spurs to win the series in seven tough games.
Hopefully the 2017 NBA playoffs continue to excite!