Sometimes reading and writing game recaps gets...a bit samey. So I offer you a recap in three parts.
The Dutiful "Let Us Pretend We Are Paid Press Syndicate Journalists" Recap
The Rockets lost a hard-fought and physical game tonight in overtime to the Golden State Warriors, 102 to 99. The close loss brought their league-best eight game win steak to an end in front of a raucous sold-out crowd at Barnacle Area.
The game started slowly, with the Warriors taking a 47-43 lead into the half, stymieing the high-flying Rockets with their 1990s brand smothering physical defense. David Lee was nearly perfect missing only one of six shots, and notching a double-double before the half ended. The same couldn't be said of Dwight Howard who sat out much of the first half of action with foul trouble.
The second half offered more of the same, with the Warriors building a double digit lead, only to see it whittled away by the Rockets. James Harden, with a quiet 5 points in the first half, due again to foul trouble, exploded in the second, scoring 30 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Some amazing play from Harden even gave the Rockets a brief 2 point lead with time nearly expiring. It took a made running layup high on the glass over Dwight Howard from Stephen Curry to close the gap. James Harden had a good look at a game-winner before time expired, but it was not to be as the teams headed to extra frames.
The overtime was all Golden State as Andre Iguodala made two big, but unlikely, baskets and Steph Curry sealed the deal with a 3 and free throws. Harden tried to answer, ultimately scoring 39 in the contest, but it was not enough as the Warriors edged by the Rockets by 3 as the over time period ended.
Do you know how boring it is to write that? But there, some unobjectionable
pablum content for those that require it
What I Honestly Think
I had a tough time deciding whether or not the referees in this game had just hung their shiny Klown Kollege diplomas on the wall at home before heading off to blow some ku-razeee whistles in this game, or whether they were just simply in the tank for Golden State from the get go. Neither answer is encouraging and those are the only two possibilities.
I could probably provide about 500 words of examples, but you'd doubt my sanity, and no doubt counterexamples exist too. I know what I saw, (though you shouldn't trust eyewitness testimony very far). If you don't like this sort of thing, I understand, refer to the first part of the recap. These are the largely unfiltered thoughts of a fan.
Moreover Rockets didn't do themselves any favors, by coming out flat, and refusing to go small until late in the game, when it was clear that Dwight Howard could be mauled on every possession and nothing would result from it. (Or "Had a bad night") It didn't help that he couldn't hit FTs on the few occasions the referees simply had to call a foul. Like when he was deliberately grabbed while shooting and pretty much nothing else. But consider this was a "really bad night" and Howard still had 11pts and 19 rebounds.
I enjoyed watching James Harden defend David Lee in the overtime. He did it well, though I can't understand why Lee can lower his shoulder and bash repeatedly into players when going to the rim, and Dwight Howard isn't allowed to do the same. Klown Kollege, or professionalism at its finest?
Anyhow, this looked like everything was set for a Rockets loss from the start, and eventually, that's what happened. The positive side? The Rockets very nearly won anyway because James Harden made some amazing shots.
Also, people, and you know who you are, quit freaking complaining about James Harden and Dwight Howard. You really think there is a better alternative on the bench? There might not be a better alternative in the NBA.
So just stop it. 39 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 14-27 shooting. I saw plays tonight that NBA fans live to see. James Harden isn't the freaking problem, he's the solution. Sorry he isn't perfect enough for some of you.
An aside - can Jordan Crawford only make stupid low-probability circus shots? It would appear so. I also refuse to feel beaten by four points of Andre Igoudala "high speed bank shot" and "pulled that mishandled dribble into a kinda-sorta scoop that went in somehow". If the Warriors make 2 or 3 fewer truly dumb low-percentage shots, this is a different game.
Also, what is it about old washed-up post guys getting to grope Dwight? Tonight was Jermaine O'Neal, and Atlanta featured Elton Brand.
I feel somewhat better now, thanks for bearing with me. Sometimes you can get a bit too involved.
By the way GSW fans, I think you guys are fine, and I'm happy with your team doing well, but Mark Jackson is a flat out wanker. Also the booing of Dwight Howard tonight was just weird and sad, and looked really "Me too!" after LA.
The Saner Long Term Outlook
The Rockets had just reeled off a winning streak equal to 10% of the season, with about 33% remaining. This loss is a bump in the road, as long as James Harden is ok, and soon. The Rockets have notched exactly one game with the whole team healthy all season. (And that's not even entirely true, Brewer has a hurt ankle.) And for the foreseeable future that total will remain one game with the team healthy.
The remaining schedule is tough, but I will go out on a limb and say as long as we win 8 out of 10 games, we'll be fine.
Golden State Mark Jackson can now woof about squeaking out one win, by three, in overtime, with, let's just say, all conditions being favorable to their style of play and lots of friendly bounces. They can boast about being 4-21 out of their last 25 against Houston, too. They are one two-three week injury to any of three guys from going into the lottery.