This was supposed to be a battle of the two largest three-point-centric offenses in the league, but only one offense executed their plan properly. It’s hard for the Rockets to win when they only shoot 20 percent(7-for-35) from beyond the arc. James Harden and Eric Gordon were a combined 0-12, and the offense never really found its rhythm. The only player who shot well from three was Patrick Beverley, who made 3 of 4 and ended the night with 13 points.
With the Rockets not making their threes, they resorted to getting closer to the bucket in the first half, and they were able to do that. Every run the Warriors had was countered by a Rockets run, and Houston kept it close in the first half, thanks to Sam Dekker and Clint Capela.
Capela played in only his third game since returning from his knee injury. In just 20 minutes off the bench, he was able to lead the team in points and rebounds, with 22 and 12. He is slowly getting back to full health, and the Rockets will really need his presence if the team wants to make a deep playoff run. Dekker was also a bright spot tonight, as he had 17 points and 7 boards. Despite only making one of his seven three-point attempts, he made six buckets and his hustle was able to keep the Rockets in the game in the first half.
The Rockets were only down five at intermission, and it looked like they could possibly salvage the game if their offense began to catch on. It seemed like they were just waiting for something to happen, but it never did. It was like Linus and Sally waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and the Great Pumpkin never came.
It’s always difficult to beat the Warriors; they are the league’s best team at this point in the season. Kevin Durant had a game-high 32 and all five starters scored in double figures. Harden’s All-Star backcourt mate Stephen Curry had 24 and Klay Thompson had 16. Golden State is a tough out, but the Rockets are capable of beating this team. Tonight, it didn’t happen because the shots didn’t fall.
In the Rockets’ win against Golden State on Dec. 1, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon combined for 52 points and nine made three-pointers. Tonight, the two combined for just six points. Anderson returned tonight after a two-game absence with a stomach virus. However, he was only able to play nine minutes due to the illness and was not seen on the floor in the second half. He won’t travel with the team for tomorrow night’s tilt against the Grizzlies. They need him.
This team is very capable of competing against Golden State — the season series is now even — and they could possibly be the best team to challenge the Warriors when it comes to the playoffs. They just need to hit their threes.
This is the second loss this week where the Rockets shot very poorly from deep. The team seems to be in a small slump, but hopefully they will get out of it tomorrow night as the team faces the Grizzlies, against whom they are 0-2 this year. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.