After losing to Los Angeles Clippers in the first game of the Western Conference semi-finals, Houston Rockets came up with a spirited performance in the second game to tie the series 1-1.
Now, the third game between the two holds great importance, which is scheduled to be played at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday night. The Clippers could have won the second game as well as they had taken a lead of 65-56 at half-time.
But, the Rockets came up with a perfect plan to stop Clippers' offence and especially break Blake Griffin's momentum, as he only managed to score four points in the last quarter.
The Rockets outplayed Clippers 32-24 in the last quarter to win the game 109-115. The Rockets were very smart as Trevor Aziza guarded Griffin later, which resulted in an inefficient Griffin's display.
"Front-and-back double team. I wouldn't say they spaced it out. They clogged it up, to be honest," AP quoted Griffin as saying. "We have to do a better job of reading that and reacting off of it. I have to do a better job of moving off the ball to get open.
"Definitely feels like we let one get away. We came here to win two, but we're going back with home court now. Got to protect home court."
Clippers will not find it easy despite being at home, as their key player, Chris Paul, who is recovering from his strained hamstring injury, might still not feature during the game. Things are unclear at present.
Somehow, if Paul recovers well on time for the game, Clippers will be in an advantageous position as Paul was one of the key players during their first round clash against San Antonio Spurs. The pair of Griffin and Paul can create havoc for Rockets' defence.
Rockets, when on song can defeat any team in the league, as was witnessed in the regular season, where they finished second in the Western Conference with 56 wins and 26 losses.
James Harden holds the key for Rockets in game 3. The Rockets' star player averages 27.7 ppg this playoffs. Not only Harden, the Clippers also have to cope up with Dwight Howard, who averages a decent 18.4 in the playoffs.
But, the Rockets are required to keep Griffin on check throughout the game. In Paul's absence, Griffin has been a major threat.
Where to Watch Live
The NBA Playoffs semi-finals game 3 between Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets is scheduled for 10:30pm ET (8am IST, 3:30am BST) start.
Viewers in the US can watch the game live on ESPN.
Indian viewers can watch it live on Sony Six.
NBA fans can also watch the Playoffs live on NBA.com