The Houston Rockets were down to the Golden State Warriors from the get go, and despite valiantly fighting back on several occasions, they never could quite close the gap, and they head back to Houston down 0-2 after a 115-109 defeat at Oracle arena.
The only story about the officiating was that other than a few minor missed calls on both sides (usually a moving screen by the Dubs), the referees did their job for the most part, including the infamous Scott Foster. James Harden did get raked in the face by Draymond Green, causing a laceration to the eye that forced Harden out for an entire quarter of action and had him at less than 100 percent for most of the night, but the contact appeared accidental.
The Rockets, however, didn’t do their job, especially early in the game, when they came out sluggish and sloppy, particularly on offense, and turned the ball over five times in the first four minutes of action. In fact, they had more turnovers than shot attempts (5-4) at that point.
Despite losing Harden for an extended period, the Rockets hung tough via their three-point shooting (they finished 17-40 from deep), but they couldn’t keep the Warriors off the glass, giving up 18 offensive rebounds on the night, and Golden State’s balanced attack proved too much for the Rockets even after Harden returned.
The Rockets did show heart in continuing to battle back, twice cutting the deficit to just three points in the fourth quarter, but the Dubs always seemed to come up with a bucket. Houston’s defense simply wasn’t good enough when it needed to be.
The Rockets were led by The Beard, who put up 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. He shot 9-19 from the field and 3-7 from deep despite an injured eye. It sure feels like good James Harden is not enough. The Rockets need super Beard.
Chris Paul finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals, and he shot 6-14 from the field and 2-7 from three. Paul wasn’t bad, but he’s not playing at near the level needed for the Rockets to overcome a most powerful opponent.
Eric Gordon had 15 points and not much else to speak of, but he hit several clutch buckets for the Rockets and continues to shoot pretty well from deep in the playoffs. He was 3-7 tonight from beyond the arc.
Clint Capela woke up from his Game 1 malaise, going for 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but something just seems off with Clint. He did catch two lobs this game, which was a pleasant sight, but he’s still not active enough and should be earning that big deal and dominating inside against a team not really playing a traditional center.
Austin Rivers had 14 points, shot 5-8 from the field, and was a huge boost in the first half while Harden was receiving medical attention, but he scored only 3 points after the break.
P.J. Tucker had a strong game with 13 points, 10 boards, and 3-5 shooting from deep, and he continues to give Kevin Durant his best shot defensively despite KD’s obvious advantages.
As for the Dubs, they were led by Durant’s 29 points. He was just 9-22 from the field, but he got hot and hit several in a row for the Golden State, and it honestly felt like more.
Klay Thompson had 21 and was much more cognizant of his defensive placement tonight, while Steph Curry finished with 20 points and 5 assists despite dislocating a finger on his non-shooting hand.
Draymond Green had 15 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals, while Andre Iguodala had 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists and they were both keys tonight to round out Golden State’s contributions.
The teams are now off until Saturday, which gives both squads time to heal, and for the Rockets, in particular, to get their act together. Saturday is a must win, but it’s important to remember that the Dubs just held serve. If the Rockets can manage the same on their home court, then they’ll still need to win just one in Oracle. But they’re going to need a little more from their two superstars once they get back to H-town in order to do it.