The Golden State Warriors were overcome by a feisty Houston Rockets effort, 116-108, deep in the heart of Texas. Kevin Durant finished with 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Draymond Green had an up-and-down evening, tallying up 21-7-5 but also throwing away 5 turnovers. Stephen Curry struggled all evening, his 19 points and 8 assists offset by 6 ugly turnovers.
The two headed monster of Chris Paul and James Harden combined for 55 points and 15 assists, attacking the Warriors defense relentlessly the whole evening. The game was sloppy but filled with high drama down the stretch, as both teams traded the lead in the fourth quarter before Houston pulled away.
Houston came out swinging
The Rockets have a mean first punch, and they caught the champs with quite a nasty uppercut in the first half of the contest. Houston leads the league in first quarter scoring, and the 40 they dropped on the Dubs to start the game got the Dubs out of their game. Houston shot 68 percent and nailed 7 threes for the period.
Houston puts up a 40-spot in 1Q, shooting 15-for-22 from field and 7-for-11 on 3s. pic.twitter.com/O0XXw5ACIi— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 21, 2018
When their shot-making cooled down in the second quarter, they kept the pressure on by creaming Golden State on the offensive glass. At the half, the Rockets finished with a 27-14 rebounding advantage (8-2 in offensive rebounds).
Even still, they only had a 65-58 lead after two quarters, despite Curry’s ugly 3-of-13 shooting from the field (2-of-9 from three) and 4 turnovers.
Ghastly turnovers mar game
And then the Warriors kept throwing the ball away. I’m just going to post tweets of horror, in sequence, from the pathetic ball-handling and passing display the Dubs put on in the Toyota Center.
Only seven first half turnovers for the Warriors, but some drrrrrrrreadful ones.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 21, 2018
Warriors a lightweight mess right now— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) January 21, 2018
Warriors are not playing well. Are sloppy. And now down just 4.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 21, 2018
Draymond cannot pass tonight— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) January 21, 2018
The Warriors would cough up a costly 19 turnovers, each one more shameful than the last. It is understandable that their gas tank may have been on “E” on the fifth game of the road trip, but it was still tough to watch.
“Strength in Numbers” flexes in Texas
With the starters clearly in a tired fog for this game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr turned his to bench for answers. In this possible playoff preview between the West’s best, it was a perfect opportunity for the supporting cast to get some invaluable experience in a big game atmosphere.
Defensively, the bench was up to the challenge on Paul and Harden. When the Rockets tried to sniff out weak defenders via the pick-and-roll, Kevon Looney and David West did an admirable job pestering the Rockets guards, gumming up Houston’s possessions.
Great defense from Looney on CP3 on that final possession -- switched onto him, used length, forced rushed airball.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 21, 2018
Offensively, Nick Young provided some much needed offensive swag. His aggression kept the Warriors in the game when it looked like the Rockets might pull away.
Young finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field (4-of-7) from three.
Back to Oakland
Time for the champs to come home after the grueling road trip that featured trips to Milwaukee, Toronto, Cleveland, and Houston (all playoff teams). The turnovers and horrendous rebounding (Rockets finished with a 46-33 advantage on the glass) could just be chalked up to fatigue. Unfortunately, each mistake gave the Rockets a little bit more life.
The Dubs won four out of the five games of the difficult trip, and they’ll be rewarded with a home tilt against the struggling New York Knicks next week.
Can’t win em all, I suppose...
Who was Warriors Wonder in the loss to Houston?
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