The game wasn't the blowout that many had projected it to be. The Houston Rockets surprised Skip Bayless and others at ESPN by taking the court and even taking a lead. The game ended up being what most of us thought it would be. A battle between James Harden and Stephen Curry. Harden almost had a triple-double (one rebound short) and Curry had 34 points to the Golden State Warriors to a game 1 victory, 110-106.
Houston once again had a hard time stopping the role players for the opposing team. While the Rockets had a 16-point lead in the second quarter, Shaun Livingston started picking them apart. If he wasn't scoring a basket, he was getting a rebound or dishing an assist. He had 10 points in the quarter.
Harrison Barnes had two huge threes during the runs that decided the game. Barnes hit a three to give the Warriors their first lead of the game in second quarter. The Warriors were in the midst of a 25-6 run at this point. His second three came early in the fourth quarter when the Warriors were on an 11-0 run.
These were the two most important stretches of the game. Ending either of these runs could have resulted in a victory. Easier said than done.
Draymond Green was also a nuisance tonight. On a plus Klay Thompson was held in check and Andew Bogut was a complete non-factor.
The Rockets bench lost the battle to the Warriors bench in points, 34-29. A bit note though here is that the bench did not commit a single turnover for the game. Clint Capela balled though in his first Western Conference Finals. He was 4-4 from the field with nine points. Pablo Prigioni had a solid four points and four assists.
Terrence Jones could not recoup his form of games 6 and 7 from the Clippers series. He was 2-10 with only five points and a couple missed shots in the paint. Corey Brewer didn't have his usual impact either. He didn't have a single steal.
A big issue going forward is going to be Dwight Howard's health. He only played 26 minutes tonight. He had seven points and 13 boards, but was not on the floor for much of the second half. How different would the game have been if he was out there?
Outside of Harden's 28-11-9 line, Trevor Ariza had an amazing game. He had two big steals in the fourth quarter, played awesome defense, was 4-5 from three and had 20 points. Ariza has been absolute money this post season.
Game 2 is Thursday night, 8PM CST and is once again on ESPN. Hoping for a better result in keeping the runs to a minimum and keeping guys like Livingston and Barnes in check.