We knew the Rockets needed to shoot better to have a chance tonight against the Warriors, and we know they haven't been good at putting the ball through the net up to this point. What we didn't know was they were actually saving their worst for last.
Houston shot just 32.2 percent from the field as a team, including an atrocious 6-33 from deep, as the Warriors sprinted out to early lead from which they never looked back and led wire-to-wire in a 114-81 win over the Rockets.
James Harden did put up 35 points for Houston, but outside of the Beard's 12-23, it was as poor of a shooting performance you can have, with the rest of the team combining to shoot just 19-73 from the field, for 26 percent.
Trevor Ariza was 1-8, including 0-7 from three, and his complete disappearance offensively in this series is one of the main storylines in Houston's inability to score. Ariza finished 3-28 from beyond the arc and averaged just 6.6 points per game for the series.
Dwight Howard shot 3-13. Patrick Beverley was 1-5. Jason Terry was 0-8, including 0-5 from three, and Corey Brewer finished 2-8. In a cruel bit of irony, Brewer hit his first three since March 25th, and it's only effect was to bring the Rockets to within 30 points from down 33.
Houston averaged just 91.2 points per game in the series after scoring 106.5 during the regular season, and it was this significant drop off that was a surprise deciding factor against the Warriors. The defense was expected to struggle- and struggle it did, to the tune of giving up 110 points per game to the Dubs-- but the Rockets offense was expected to at least be able to put up some digits of their own.
Instead, a cornucopia of turnovers (18.8 for the series) combined with the inability to knock down anything (38.6 percent from the field as a team) sent the Rockets home early and without a much of a whimper.
The Warriors were scorching hot all night, connecting on 54.9 percent of their shots, including 13-31 from deep. They were led by Klay Thompson's 27 points in 29 minutes, including 7 triples, Shaun Livingston's 16 points, and Draymond Green's 15 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks.
As much as I was pulling for the Rockets, the night, the season, and all hope were clearly over early, and now that we've finally stretched across the finish of this long, arduous season, it actually feels a bit relieving to step away from the dysfunction and disappointment of the year and look forward to the optimism of an offseason of change. The Rockets are gifted with a GM and an owner as willing as any to makes moves and to spend in order to improve the squad.
There's a lot of questions surrounding the Rockets in the offseason, from Dwight Howard's future, to the coaching hire, to the Kevin Drurant sweepstakes, and there's also a plethora of secondary roster moves Daryl Morey is certain to make. I'm sure we'll have plenty of material here at TDS to discuss the Rockets' options for improvement, but for now, take a deep breathe, a sigh, and relax. It's finally over.