Sometimes when writing a game recap, it is as though the story of the game sits in the open, waiting to be told. The contest unfolds itself in a way that lends itself to narrative form.
Game three of the Rockets vs Warriors unfolded in a fairly strange manner, with its different sections seemingly having little resemblance to the others. This recap will thus be piecemeal, like the game.
The Rockets started more brightly than the two games in Oakland, but Golden State seemingly couldn’t miss in the first quarter, as difficult mid-range looks found nothing but nylon.
The Warriors took a lead early and a familiar sinking feeling set in for many Rockets fan. Rockets battled back late in the period, with quick, decisive attacks and smooth shooting from Eric Gordon, who ended the night with 30pts on 11-20 shooting, going a blistering 7-14 behind the arc. Behind that effort, and a slightly cooler Warriors team, the Rockets cut the lead to one at the end of the first, 26-25.
It’s notable that neither team broke 30 in the first quarter.
The Lead, Short-Lived Though It Was.
The Rockets played with more intensity still in the second quarter, with James Harden coming alive, Gordon staying hot, and Chris Paul bossing the game and looking dangerous on the attack. But signs of problems were there. Against nearly any other team, this quarter would have seen a 20+ point lead for Houston. Against Golden State, the margin was only 9 at the half.
The third quarters of playoff games involving Golden State are renown for furious Warriors runs. They went on one in this game, with the Rockets getting caught seemingly over and over on switches, leaving an opening for a quick pass and Golden State dunk.
Despite all that, the Rockets held firm, losing only two points off their lead, as the game saw its highest scoring quarter at 35 for GS, and 33 for Houston.
Comeback & Overtime
It seemed as though the Rockets might hold a lead at around 10 points for the remainder of the game.
Kevin Durant, the greatest free-agent signing of all time, had other plans. He lead a one-man comeback in the early fourth, on his way to a 46pt night, on 14-31 shooting, and 6-10 from three and 12-12 from the line. He dished a somewhat uncharacteristic 6 assists as well.
At one point in the fourth, the Warriors held a slim lead. As time ran out, the game was tied.
After a Warriors miss, the Rockets had the ball with around 14 seconds remaining. Chris Paul managed to...not get a shot up. No timeout was called when the Rockets offense stalled, no attempt at a play, just a dribble into traffic that resulted in one of the (surprisingly? curiously?) high number of jump balls forced by Golden State in the game.
So the game headed for overtime, but fortunately was not a rehash of the quadruple overtime epic played in Portland last night.
A couple of interesting things happened in the extra period. Stephen Curry missed two layups. One of them was reminiscent of the Corey Brewer “Ran Out of Talent” failed dunk enshrined in Rockets lore, as Steph was brutally rejected by the rim. But give Corey credit, he admitted it immediately, in a charming way. Perhaps Steph will, too.
The good things that happened in overtime came down to P.J. Tucker bossing the game on the boards against notable beefy NBA players like Andre Iguodala and the ever-appalling Draymond Green. Tucker would finish with a game high 12 rebounds, 5 offensive.
Eric Gordon made one of his locked-in Gordon sniper threes. Harden also made a step-back three pointer, so despite a very iffy foul call on Austin Rivers, giving Kevin Durant three free throws, and a baffling call on Chris Paul on a rebound, the Rockets prevailed. (Curry missing that open layup helped, too.)
Now seems a good time to discuss a few other things.
Rockets late game offense.
This game didn’t need to go into overtime. But the Rockets seemingly threw away four or five possessions down the stretch in a bogged down, and frankly, smelly, ISO offense. Sure, it’s great when Harden makes the “In Your Face” three, but when he gets trapped in a corner, and no plausible shot emerges? Or the same thing happens to Chris Paul? Something better needs to happen, particularly on a night featuring Good Gordon and an effective Austin Rivers,
Also, Golden state is sitting on the lob to Capela, they bring a soft double up on the Capela screen, but quickly hang back for that lob pass. Iguodala and Green, in particular, have sniffed it out. So what else can Capela do? Well, he can get offensive rebounds over nearly any Golden State small-ball lineup. Maybe he should do that more? His first half offensive boards and put backs were part of a flowing Rockets offense that seemed like it could take a lead.
Also, late game, close, would it kill MDA to run some sort of play? Some kind of action, besides a sideline ISO? The Warriors might just die of shock. I know I might.
The Draymond Paradox
Anyone see James Harden’s eye? Yeah. Looked fine. Nothing happened, clearly.
So let’s talk about Draymond Green’s flawed, venal and mendacious philosophy of basketball.
Draymond has a history of hurting other players. It’s all claimed to be an accident, but the numbers keep piling up.
Let me offer an, (incomplete) list of (playoff only) victims:
LeBron James (kick to the testicles)
Steven Adams (more kicks to the testicles)
So there are two possibilities:
One: Draymond Green deliberately attempts to injure other players, sometimes disgustingly, in the case of Mike Conley. He should be out of the league for this behavior.
Two: It really is accidental. But that suggests he cannot control his own body. If he can’t control his body, and he just happens to hurt opponents, oddly enough, playoffs opponents in particular, then he really should settle down and STFU.
Draymond Green, however, is noted for complaining about calls against him more vociferously than any other player in the NBA.
If two is true, he should never complain about any foul call, because he can’t control his body.
He can’t have it both ways. Either he admits he’s a thug who tries to injure opponents, or he’s an out of control player who should never complain.
NBA players are the absolute elite. I personally think their control and athleticism is so great that they do very little by accident, and a pattern like Green’s suggests malice.
That’s enough for now, on to Game Four, and hopefully, a tied series, if the Warriors least important signing doesn’t score 50.
The Draymond Paradox?
This poll is closed
Guilty of intentionally hurting opponents. Should be removed from the NBA.
Out of control accidents, a clumsy brute, and thus should remain quiet.
When Luka comes into his kingdom Draymond will suffer.