The Houston Rockets came out of the gates fast in tonight’s first game of the Western Conference Finals, but the Golden State Warriors just had too much for Houston to handle as they mostly struggled outside of James Harden and Chris Paul and fell to the Dubs 119-106.
The Beard finished the night with a scintillating 41 points on 14-24 shooting to go along with 3 rebounds and 7 assists, and he led the Rockets to an early 21-12 lead with 12 early points. But Golden State quickly settled in and got some unconscious shooting from Kevin Durant, who finished with 37 points to lead the Warriors, and the two teams headed into the halftime break tied at 56.
The Rockets, however, failed to get much outside of their two superstars, particularly in the second half, and Houston simply couldn’t keep up with the firepower of Golden State.
In addition to the Beard’s big night, CP3 finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists, and Eric Gordon finished with 15, but Houston got virtually nothing from its role players, and that’s a recipe for disaster against the Warriors.
P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, Gerald Green, Ryan Anderson and Nene put up a combined 15 total points on a pitiful 5-24 from the field. Mbah a Moute was particularly bad in missing several easy layups and two crucial threes. You can’t beat the Warriors when two thirds of your roster underperforms offensively.
The Rockets were also shredded defensively, as they gave up 53 percent shooting to the Dubs to go along with a playoff high in points allowed. The Warriors also turned the ball over just nine times. Houston will need to be better defensively if they’re to have a chance in this series.
It’s easier said than done though, with KD hitting practically any shot he pleases, and the Dubs also getting major contributions from Klay Thompson, who finished with 28 points, and Steph Curry, who finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists.
The Warriors also got solid play from Nick Young, who cashed three triples, Andre Iguodala, who finished with 11 points, and Draymond Green, who had 5 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks despite getting a technical one minute into the game for pushing Harden.
Unfortunately for Houston, that contrast of the top-to-bottom roster contributions between the two teams was the difference in this game, and the Rockets are going to need someone else to step up to help CP3 and The Beard against a historic team with four All-Stars.
Clint Capela will need to be more of factor moving forward, as he finished with just 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 30 minutes of action. He was able to stay on the floor, which was one of our major concerns coming in, and he played well defensively, one of the few Rockets to do so, the Dubs were just able to minimize his damage despite his 6-7 shooting.
Game 2 is Wednesday night, and we’ll be looking for more from our heroes in red, who clearly didn’t play up to their normal standards and will need to get in gear quickly, lest this becomes a quick series.