Dwight Howard struggling to move well or be effective after Josh Smith fell into his knee was a key issue in Game 1. Howard’s lack of mobility allowed the Warriors to play their small ball lineup, with Draymond Green at the five, without any real consequence.
Looks like the Rockets may need to find another adjustment to deal with that lineup for Game 2 Thursday — one doesn’t involve Howard.
Dwight Howard diagnosed with a left knee sprain and is listed as questionable for Game 2.
The injury had been initially called a bruised knee.
Howard told the media Wednesday that if he can’t move better than he could during Game 1 he wouldn’t play in Game 2, but that it would be a game-time decision. He did go through a partial, light practice with his Houston teammates Wednesday, but added his knee is very sore.
The Rockets need to make a series of adjustments after their Game 1 defeat — James Harden needs to get to the line more than six times, and as a team they need to take more than 22 threes.
However, this was a series where the Rockets needed everything to go right to have a chance, and Howard’s injury leaves them in a dangerous situation.
Draymond Green wrestles with Trevor Ariza late in Warriors’ Game 1 win over Rockets (VIDEO)
It happened almost exactly halfway through the first quarter: Josh Smith tried to post up Klay Thompson, spun to the middle, and put up and awkward shot as he fell — right into Dwight Howard’s knee.
Howard left the game and went back to the Rockets’ locker room, but returned by the end of the first quarter.
However, he was never the same — he didn’t move as well, and the Warriors took advantage. Because of Howard Houston led the points in the paint battle 20-6 after the first quarter. The last three quarters the Warriors won the points in the paint race 44-32. What’s more, the injury allowed the Warriors to play small, with Draymond Green at the five, which was the most effective lineup for Golden State. The Warriors went on to win 110-106 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Howard’s status for Game 2 Thursday is up in the air.
Dwight Howard on his possible return for Thursday: "Hopefully I can play."