Rockets coach wants ‘mentally sharper’ team for game two

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets speaks to the media prior to Game One of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. AFP

LOS ANGELES, United States — Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni says his team must eradicate mental mistakes to have any chance of levelling their NBA Western Conference finals series against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

The top-seeded Rockets suffered a chastening 119-106 home defeat to the reigning NBA champions in game one on Monday.

A second victory for Golden State on Wednesday would leave Houston with a mountain to climb when the best-of-seven series heads back to California for game three on Sunday.

D’Antoni said the combination of lapses in concentration at key times combined with Kevin Durant’s 37 points for Golden State were “devastating” in game one.

“They’re obviously champions for a reason,” D’Antoni said. “If we want to beat them, we have to be mentally sharper.”

“We’ll get that better. We’ll make some adjustments on little things that we can do better.”

“To knock these guys out, we’ve got to play a lot better offensively also,” D’Antoni said.

He said he did not think that the failure to capitalise on home advantage in game one would cause lasting psychological damage for his team.

“We can’t think about this game other than make adjustments,” he said. “But we’ve got to come out and win the game on Wednesday, and we’ll see what happens. We can win here, we can win there.”

Warriors star Stephen Curry urged his team-mates to be “greedy” and chase another road win in game two.

“You don’t win the series in one game,” Curry said. “You’ve got a lot of work to do. You’ve got to come back and get a little greedy in game two and try to get another one.

“We’ll make some adjustments. I know they will. Got to have that same competitive fire that we had after the first minute tonight.”

The Warriors are chasing a fourth straight appearance in the NBA finals and a third title in four years.