It's finally time to see the Western Conference start their second round playoffs. The Rockets and Spurs match up at 9:30 PM EST Monday night on TNT.

How they got here

The Spurs battled a tough Memphis Grizzlies team. In a game that went down to the wire in game 6, the Spurs took care of business and took down the Grizzlies. The Rockets had an exciting matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook and James Harden had a back and forth battle for the ages but ultimately The Rockets pulled it out in 5 games. Both teams had their fair share of close games and both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Keys for Houston

There are two massive things that jump out that are keys for the Rockets in this game 1. First, dictating the pace of the game should be huge. It would make sense that the Spurs are going to try to slow the game down and make it a possession battle and an efficiency battle. The Rockets can't let this happen. Their bread and butter come from picking up the tempo and establishing the pace of the game. Secondly, their team defense needs to get better than it was against Oklahoma City. Of course, they aren't known for defense but they need to focus on getting the ball out of Kawhi Leonard's hands and trying to force guys off the perimeter.

Keys for San Antonio

First and foremost it's all about efficiency for San Antonio.

The Rockets will give you open looks and the Spurs need to be consistently hitting shots. Whether that be threes or an easy mid-range jumper, consistently hitting them while keeping them in games and allow their defense to go to work. After that, they have to get Harden to pass the ball. Make the others on the team beat you.

If Harden is creating for teammates and also scoring at the rim then you are in big trouble. With Kawhi guarding him you should have Kawhi play up and play under every pick. Force James to shoot threes so that you don't get caught going over the screen and fouling.

A big key for both teams will be getting to the free throw line.

Hitting the easy free throws helps pace the game even if you aren't scoring. Kawhi and Harden are both very good at getting to the line and sinking them, and both should be on the aggressive side looking to take those easy ones.

This game could go 7 games or it could go 5, this all depends on how the Rockets defend the Spurs. Will they defend them and force tough shots? Or will Kawhi get whatever he wants and the Spurs hit consistent shots? Time will tell but we have an amazing series on our hands.

Follow the page NBA
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!