The Warriors, until last night, had thoroughly disrespected the Houston Rockets both on and off the court. Andre Iguodala referred to a "practice scrimmage." Draymond Green said there was no real reason for Stephen Curry to be out on the floor. The NBA on TNT crew made a graphic that said that games five through seven would be "not necessary." Not, "if necessary," but "not necessary." Life was not smiling upon the Houston Rockets. The world had turned against them. Mean things were said about their level of commitment, their team defense, and about the sheen of James Harden's beard.
And then last night happened.
To be blunt, that game was a f--ing nightmare to watch. Not because the Warriors lost, and not because I was sitting in a bar with a crew of extremely drunk people. (Quick aside: I went out to my local hole-in-the-back-of-the-hole-in-the-hole-in-the-wall to watch the game. I sat on my bar stool, nursing my $2 mug of Budweiser and live tweeting from @unstoppablebaby. At a few turns, I was forced to whip out my computer, get a signal via EasyTether, and type at the bar. It was, understandably, quite a scene. Prince was blasting on the stereo. Prince, all night. Patrons hung off of one another, drinks in hand, belting out lyrics. I crooned along under my breath, all the while hawk-eyed and nervous that someone would come barreling over and tip their drink into the innards of my computer. Hunched over, glaring at a disastrous, bludgeoning game, typing cryptically on my computer as twenty people around me sang Purple Rain over and over. You can almost smell it, huh?)
But, as I was saying, the game was a f--ing nightmare to watch because I do not enjoy the Houston Rockets.
This is not news, and the longer I linger on my dislike, the more it festers in my mind. So, let's try and move quickly through this using as few words as possible.
Flop. Grab. Boring. I don't like Dwight's face. Harden. Harden's grabbing and flopping. The color of their jerseys.
Whew! Okay! That was fairly vitriolic without actually having to jump all the way into those hateful waters!
In other news, and because Steph was sitting out, we were treated to an unexpected IAN CLARK PLAYOFF GAME! Honestly, I did not see that coming.
However, I did call it early in the match.
This will be the Ian Clark playoff game. Mark my words.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) April 22, 2016
Some day I'll tell my child I stayed up late for the Ian Clark game.— Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) April 22, 2016
Our fragile world is built on Twitter proclamations and timestamps.
The Warriors, down big and down early, clawed their way back into the game behind the scrappy play of Clark and the outside shooting brilliance of Marreese Speights. Again, I did not necessarily see all that coming.
But none of the overall weirdness of the game could compete with the final 14 seconds.
With 14.4 seconds, the Rockets called timeout to set up an inbounds play. Somehow, they came away with...this?
Would Harden technically get the assist to Clark? ;)
So, great right? Clark's layup puts the Warriors up one with minimal time left on the clock! What could go wrong?
You want to know the worst thing? Harden's teammates didn't even want him to hit the shot!! C'mon guys! You know the cameras are on you, right? At least try and seem excited. You can just see Dwight thinking, "Damn, now I gotta change my flight to Cancun because we have to go back to Oakland. Damn you Harden. Damn you and that beautiful, sheen-filled beard."
The Warriors had one more chance to win it. With three seconds left, they inbounded to Draymond Green, but he took his eye off the ball for a split second, it caromed off his leg, and the game was over.
So, where do we go from here? My guess: Curry plays Game 4. The Warriors are furious they let one get away, so they bootstomp their way across the court. And then, assuming Steph doesn't re-injure himself, they come home and close it out in front of the home crowd.
But, and this is a big BUT, if Curry does get injured again, we might look back at this game with a deep sense of pain and sadness. If the Warriors had taken care of business last night, they most likely would have sat Steph in Game 4. The Rockets would have most likely lost, and then Curry would have gotten a long, healing rest before the second round. Now, he could be forced back into action early. His fragile ankle will be at the mercy of Patrick Beverly's insane actions.
I do not like this one bit.
Not even a little bit.
Game 4 is Sunday, 12:30 pm Pacific Time, in Houston. Let the fretting and worrying commence.