Game 5 marked the first time the Rockets touched down in Houston since the Sante Fe high school shooting. The pregame began with the honoring of 10 people who lost their lives and Travis Scott capping it off with an empowering, “Let’s go Rockets.” And oh boy, did the Rockets go.
With emotions riding high, the Rockets got off to an explosive start. The Warriors, on the other hand, started with 3 costly turnovers coupled 2 bad shots by KD. Clearly, they did not make the necessary adjustments they needed to gain a 3-2 lead in Houston.
The beginning was reminiscent of game 4, but this time the Rockets started with the early lead and all the momentum. At home, this game was to be determined by the crowd.
Durant first got going with two easy transition buckets, setting the tone for a fast pace unforeseen by the Warriors in this series. Durant capitalized on a mismatch against Eric Gordon using his height to rise up versus Gordon. For the game, he had 29 points, yet he shot an underwhelming 8-22 from the field.
KD’s hero ball tactics continue to be his shortcoming as Steve Kerr remarked, “When MJ was with the bulls he was scoring but wasn’t getting his teammates involved. Phil Jackson told him John Paxson would be open.” He ended with one message, “Trust these guys, okay?” Apparently, Durant could not trust his teammates and that is the preeminent reason the Warriors lost.
The moral of the first quarter was luck. The Warriors got lucky a few balls bounced their way. The Rockets could have easily been up by double digits with the way the Warriors looked.
The Rockets ran Klay Thompson off the three line, forcing him to drive to the rim, which is definitely not his forte. He looked out of funk throughout the game despite his huge numbers.
Surmising, the Warriors stars had big numbers but they never really got in a rhythm as a team, choosing to hunt after their own shots and not making the extra pass. I would have to like to see veteran presences that know the moment, like David West, Zaza Pachulia, and Javale Mcgee. Instead, we saw Quinn Cook taking a potential game-winning three with 40 seconds on the clock.
James Harden had a vicious dunk against Draymond Green, imitating himself from last game. The ” others” on the Houston Rockets, especially P.J. Tucker, are chameleons for Houston, capable of switching roles at any time. Tucker is the driving reason Mike D’antoni can go with the consistent rotation of 7 players. Tucker played 42 minutes and shot a meager 6 times. Holy crap is this dude unselfish. Tucker’s the guy that finds $1,000 on the ground, calls the police on himself and then gives the money to a homeless dude.
The Warriors again had their best quarter in the third. They can’t find a true identity the last two games, which goes to show Iggy how important is as a leader.
Golden State looked their best when they moved the ball, getting everyone to touch the ball. Golden State even matched their assist total from last game with 14 with 4 minutes left in the third. The Warriors are at their peak when they garner their 2015 image as the team that pushes the tempo and scores or draws fouls in transition.
Golden State’s trophy child, Stephen Curry, is a man of mystery. In the first, second, and fourth he looked lackadaisical and maybe even hurt. But in the third quarter, Curry was magically uninjured, pushing the ball and moving off screens with substantial speed. This begs the question; How is Steph Curry hurt every quarter except the third every game this series?
Chris Paul hit numerous playground shots in the third and fourth that had J.J. Watt and Justin Timberlake singing Summer Love in unison (okay, not really but they were hyped). Paul had the tweetosphere (and Ayesha?) going crazy when he shimmied in Curry’s face. Chris Paul’s trials and tribulations tonight discerned a “remember me” Western Conference Finals game. Maybe he can win a championship after all.
Although, James Harden only confirmed his status as the most inconsistent shooting guard of all time. He has missed his last 18 threes, and had it been a Houston loss, people would be alluding to his 5-21 shooting, 6 turnovers, and relentless ball-hogging.
The Rockets most significant “other” could also be the pit bull, Eric Gordon. Game 5 showed Eric Gordon’s ability to flush his last miss down the toilet. He started off 1-7 behind the 3 point line, until he hit the biggest 3 of the series, giving the Rockets a one-point lead with one minute remaining. Is Eric Gordon the key to a championship banner for the Rockets? Wow, I never thought I would be asking that.
“All in all I’m happy with the quarter. There were a couple mistakes, couple turnovers.” Kerr remarked. “Overall, I like where this is going.” the coach confirmed that the Warriors were content with a 5 point deficit at the end of the first quarter. The outcome goes to show, that even with 4 Monstars on your team, adjustments still have to be made and plays still have to be fabricated or that 4-point deficit will turn into a 5 point loss. Encompassing, Houston turned 16 Warriors turnovers into 15 points.
And while Draymond Green single-handedly brought the warriors back in the final two minutes, he coughed up the ball in the biggest moment of the series. With that, the Warriors again failed to get a shot up in a crucial moment. Many are questioning Kerr’s in-game adjustments. Is he really a top coach in the NBA?
For all the Warriors’ mishaps, the Rockets rightfully won this game, going up 3-2 and sending it back to Oracle.
It was an emotional one for Houston.