Nick Wright reveals how Harden’s Rockets bounced back to down Curry, KD’s Warriors in Game 2

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In his conversation with Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe, Nick Wright reveals how Harden's Rockets bounced back to down Steph Curry, KD and the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals. Who takes Game 3?

- Listen. This-- what you saw last night, that was Rockets basketball. What you saw in game 1 was a bad version of Rockets basketball. Last night, their defensive rating, identical to what it was for the season. Their assist rate, nearly identical. Their turnover percentage, identical. Their fast break points, identical. The only thing that was different about last night compared to who they were throughout the regular season is, they were slightly better shooting, which is why they scored 127, as opposed to their regular season average which was closer to 117. That's the only difference, right? It was-- that is Rockets basketball.

I talked about how they led the league in isolation plays in game 1-- in the regular season. In game 1, they had the most isolation plays any team's had in five years. In game 2, they had more. But it looked differently. Why? Because, C, you brought up a stat that the broadcast showed that was remarkable. That James Harden in game 1 had more dribbles than who?

CHRIS CARTER: All three of the Warriors. It was amazing.

NICK WRIGHT: Of the big three.

- Klay, Steph, and KD.

- Those three players had 549 dribbles in game 1. James Harden had 550. So it wasn't that they didn't isolate in game 2. They isolated at the exact same rate as game 1.


- It was quicker isolations. It wasn't dribble, dribble, dribble for 17 seconds. There were no shot clock violations the entire game. And it was isolations to drive and kick to get guys open.

CHRIS CARTER: Yeah, they didn't make up their mind on isolation that they had to get to the hole. Sometime if they could get to the hole and finish, they did, which got the Warriors in foul trouble. But most of the time, they drove in, got two feet in the lane, Nick. We talked about this. Kicked out to an open shooter or the hockey assist where that guy ditched the ball to someone else for a better shot.

- And I want to say one thing quickly about the defense that I will give the Rockets credit for. Because it took courage. Kevin Durant is locked in, right? Kevin Durant, 38 points to finish the last series. 37 and 38 in this series. And they decided, we are not going to do what I said they should do. Consistently double them.

They said, if KD is going to get 40, he's going to get 40. What we're not going to allow is him to get 30, but then Klay to get 25, Steph to get 30. And so while Kevin Durant has 75 points in these first two playoff games, he also has one assist in these first two playoff games.

So they are not letting Kevin Durant create offense for other people. Let Steph see shots go in. Let Klay see shots go in. And I agree with Steve Kerr. I thought it was odd Steve Kerr said it. But this was a desperate Rockets team. You can't go down 0 2 at home. It's odd to hear the other coach say the team was desperate after just one game. But he's right. You can't go down 0 2 at home. It's the most important game the Rockets have played as a franchise, I don't know, in 20 years, you could argue. And they came out and did exactly what they needed to do.

SPORTSCASTER: You're right. Kevin Durant is completely locked in. And seemingly unstoppable. But Steph Curry? Steph Curry came out again and struggled last night. How much of what Steph Curry is doing right now is because Houston is limiting him? How much of it is because he's getting frustrated? Or do you think he's just not 100%?