All of the talk the morning after the Golden State Warriors' 110-106 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals was about variations of one thing: how unbelievably cute is Stephen Curry's daughter Riley? The thousands of thinkpieces about the ethics of adorable children at post-game podium interviews aside, there was actually a quite fun basketball game played on Tuesday night while we were all celebrating 1-3-6-7.
The Rockets took a double-digit lead and looked quite comfortable for portions of the first half, but then the Warriors came roaring back as they do, and Curry's 34 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists paced the eventual victory. However, Golden State would not have made it back into the game without one of the best halves of Shaun Livingston's career. Livingston's 18 points, 16 of which came in the first half, brought the Warriors back into the game after the early deficit.
The other storyline to keep an eye on moving into tonight's game: how effective can Dwight Howard be? Howard left during the first quarter of Tuesday's game with a knee injury, but returned and played 26 minutes. However, his mobility was clearly limited, and he is listed as a game-time decision for Game 2. He is likely to play, but if it is at the level he was at for most of Game 1, he is not nearly the game-changing force he has been for much of the playoffs. Without Howard at his best, the Rockets will be hard-pressed to stay alive in this series, any heroics from James Harden aside.
If Howard cannot start, expect either a start for Terrence Jones (with Josh Smith shifting to the 5) or rookie Clint Capela. Capela could have a huge role in this series if Howard is unable to play for major minutes.
(2) Houston Rockets at (1) Golden State Warriors, Thursday, May 21, 2015, 8:00pm CDT
Western Conference Finals, Game 2 (Golden State leads 1-0)
TV/Radio: ESPN/ESPN Radio