THERE comes a point in most seven-game series where the analysis lends itself to simplicity, a juncture where the most obvious theory provides the clearest point of view.
For the Houston Rockets, their success boils down to ball security. Six games into their Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Rockets know exactly where they stand and are acutely aware of how the Thunder have extended the series.
In Games 1, 2 and 5, the Rockets averaged a mere 8.3 turnovers and cruised to double-digit victories. In Games 3, 4 and 6, Houston averaged 17.3 turnovers in three close losses, including 22 giveaways in a 104-100 setback on Monday that set the table for a winner-take-all, Game 7 tilt in the AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
“Twenty-two (turnovers) just sealed our fate,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters after Game 6.