James Harden Rockets Spurs
Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden drives to the basket as San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard defend during the first half in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center in San Antonio on May 1, 2017. Reuters/Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

One game has changed the complexion of the second-round playoff series between the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. After stealing home-court advantage in the opener, the Rockets are now favored to reach the conference finals.

As the Western Conference’s No.2 seed with 61 regular-season wins, San Antonio began the series with -200 betting odds to defeat Houston, via Bovada.lv. They have +110 odds following the embarrassment that was Game 1, and the Rockets are -130 favorites heading into Game 2.

It wasn’t just the fact that the Rockets took an early series lead. It was the way they did it, losing by 27 points in front of their home fans. The contest was never close as Houston took a 30-point lead into halftime.

The signs were there in the first round to indicated that the Spurs could struggle once they faced stiffer competition. San Antonio needed six games to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies as Kawhi Leonard carried the team to the second round. The forward was efficient as he always is in Game 1, scoring 21 points on 14 shots while adding 11 rebounds and six assists. But he’ll need a lot more help if the Spurs hope to win the series.

Most notably, LaMarcus Aldridge has to raise his game and make a significant contribution. The power forward managed to score just seven points on four shot attempts in Game 1, bringing his postseason average to just 13.3 points per game. He’s shooting less than 44 percent from the field and grabbing just a shade over seven rebounds per contest, and those shouldn’t be numbers reflective of the most sought-after free agent two years ago.

One victory doesn’t always mean much, but it certainly does in this case. Houston has the recipe to defeat San Antonio and their league-leading defense in a seven-game series.

As good as Leonard is, James Harden gives the Rockets a chance to have the best player on the floor each night. The likely runner-up for MVP had 20 points and 14 assists in the opener and knows how to get the best out of his teammates.

Houston hit 22 three-pointers Monday night, connecting with 44 percent of their shots from behind the arc. That won’t be the norm against San Antonio, but the Rockets have what it takes to be deadly from distance. They set an NBA record with 14.4 three-pointers per game, and the Spurs will be in trouble if Houston catches fire for a few games.

San Antonio is favored Wednesday night in what’s become an increasingly important Game 2. Heading to Houston in a 2-0 series hole would be difficult to recover from.

Despite the Game 1 results, the Spurs are still the overall better team. They are miles ahead of the Rockets in terms of defense, and they can actually hang with Houston’s fast-paced offense. But last year’s second-round exit does make this series look like a repeat of the 2016 playoffs.

The basketball world expected the Golden State Warriors and Spurs to do battle in the Western Conference Finals after dominating the league all season long. It was the Oklahoma City Thunder who put a stop to San Antonio’s plans last season, and Houston is looking like they might be able to do the same in 2017.