The Warriors are set to face off against the Cavs for a 4th straight year. NBA’s detractors will reiterate that the NBA is predictable. But this series was just the opposite, we saw exceptional in-game adjustments and role players outperforming their roles.
Sure once Chris Paul went down, the Warriors became heavy favorites. Nevertheless, Andre Iguodala would have kept the Warriors grounded, and the team showed that they still require his veteran leadership.
Houston kept true to themselves, which cost them this game. Although in the beginning, the Warriors had their fair share of mishaps.
Prior to the game, Steve Kerr confirmed their tactics in beating Houston. “I’ll know if my team is engaged if we don’t turn the ball over.” The team ignored Kerr, looking nervous with the ball and lethargic on the defensive end.
After 1 quarter, the Warriors looked tentative on both ends, and with concerning fouls, they were forced to. Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson had 2 and 3 fouls in the first 1:12 of the game. The beginning was marred by Harden attacking the rim (and getting absurd foul calls) and Eric Gordon creating shots for himself and his teammates. However, the refs undoubtedly grasped the beginning of the game, much to the anger of both coaches.
At the end of the first half, the Warriors were lucky to be down only 11, and the Rockets could not trust such a meager lead versus a stacked team like Golden State. For Golden State, being down 11 correlates to a 3 point lead.
Houston’s other players did not step up tonight, ultimately leading to the downfall of a defeated Rockets squad.
Trevor Ariza needs some new prescription contacts because he could not see the rim. He clanked a horrendous 0-12 shots from the field and 0-9 from deep. The Trevor Ariza seen in earlier games differed tremendously from the one we saw today. Understandably, chasing a 7-foot shooter in Durant is a tough task, but Houston desperately needed him to fulfill his 3-and-D role more effectively.
Moreover, the Rockets appreciated Eric Gordon, who went the extra mile for an undermanned team. Gordon proved to be an X-factor once again, replacing Chris Paul with relative ease in game 7. He dropped 23 points and created various opportunities for his teammates, dishing out 6 assists.
EG is an absolute specimen, he plays the part of a fullback for the Rockets, ramming into lankier defenders, seemingly gaining energy from contact. Nonetheless, he shot 2-12 from three and missed on some potential game-changers in the fourth quarter.
P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela were the goon and the brute. They buckled down and did the dirty work, going after the ball viciously on the offensive end. In the first half, the two combined for 8 offensive rebounds, while the warriors had zero. Tucker added with 4 crucial steals in the game.
Harden rested the city on his shoulders, as he hit the crowd stood up, as he missed the crowd went hush. Unfortunately for Houston, Harden shot 29 times for only 32 points. This was a career-defining game for The Beard, headlines tomorrow will question his winning ability.
Warriors started off trading 2’s for 3’s, just what Mike D’antoni called for. But as the game wore on, the Rockets adhered to their unhealthy 3 point addiction too heavily. The high is extremely exhilarating whilst the hangover brings them down to unprecedented lows. Tonight’s high brought them a quick 6-14 from 3. Tonight’s hangover consisted of them missing their next 30 3’s. As the old saying goes, you live and die by the three. Stats withstanding, the Rockets continuing to fire contested threes was not the answer when up at half by 11.
The major Golden State revamping occurred with improved ball movement. As Durant trusted his teammates and Curry passed it instead of shooting 40-foot-jumpers, we saw the Warriors regain that dominance.
Rachel Nichols even reported that Houston officials actually got people getting food at halftime into their seats faster, as for a better 3rd quarter presence. The Warriors ended third quarters against Houston 96-40 in the series.
A game-defining moment transpired when Draymond Green swatted James Harden’s layup attempt into the stands and then grabbed Harden up from the court only to remember who he was, then proceeding to drop him to the floor. Let the NBA petty wars live forever.
After the game, all the Rockets could do was complain to the referees, after they took a myriad of ill-advised 3’s and ignored practical reasoning to pound it inside with a lead.
Houston stuck to its gameplan, which is what got them this far.
But ultimately led to its demise.
See you in Oakland.