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Recap: Warriors edge Rockets 104-100 in sloppy game 1

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The Warriors are up 1-0 in the second round.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The game of basketball could be so simple for the Golden State Warriors, but they would rather make it hard for no rhyme or reason.

NBA on ABC’s commentator Jeff Van Gundy said in the broadcast (paraphrasing) that whoever won the game will feel like they stole it instead. Van Gundy is right, given senseless fouls and turning Oracle into a bakery with several careless turnovers, the Warriors had no business winning this game. Luckily for them, they did. Also, it’s very reassuring that they won knowing that they can play better.

Kevin Durant led the way with 35 points and Draymond Green chipped in with 14 points and an assist a rebound away from a triple double with solid shooting from the field. Here are some observations from the 104-100 win in Game 1.

Fouls, Fouls, and More Fouls

The Dubs committed an obscene 24 fouls to the Rockets’ 21. Real ugly effort with missed calls on both teams. The Warriors got a friendly whistle with non calls on close ins. While some of the non calls were legit close in fouls, there were some instances where the Rockets were forcing the issue when they kick their legs in their shots to sell contact. Exhibit A.

Look at how James Harden jumped from behind the line in an attempt to sell contact, after he pushed off Green. Now at 18 seconds, there’s the kick. Regardless, the Warriors must make it a point to play clean from the perimeter because the refs will be vigilant in calling close in fouls in game 2.

Steph Curry’s Passivity and Foul Trouble.

Stephen Curry’s dagger three late in the game does not negate his overall passive performance in game one. He didn’t look for his shot, only attempting 12 shots. There’s been some missed opportunities in the lane and mid range that Curry didn’t take advantage of. Before his shot late in the fourth, Curry had Nene in ISO a few times and passed it to Andre Iguodala or Alfonzo McKinnie instead. You can rationalize Curry’s passivity to trying to let Durant or Green cook, but taking only 12 shots in this offense shouldn’t happen. I’m not a fan of hypotheticals, but here we are and here we go.

If Curry was looking for his shot within the offense and making them, the Warriors would have run away with this game instead of getting the lead up to nine and letting Houston get close with trips to the line or break downs in transition. In Game 2, Curry should selfishly set the tone. Look for his shot early to stay engaged. He shouldn’t even pass gas until looking for his attempts early. Everyone in the huddle will just have to deal with it, and they will because everyone can and should be able to get their shots.

Curry had five fouls and teetered on fouling out. For whatever reason, he can’t stop reaching. I understand trying to put forth an effort to defend but he’s better off playing more with his feet versus gambling for steals. He's better as a help defender where he’s switching and rotating.

Solid Defense and Hustle

Fouls aside, the Warriors were solid on perimeter defense and was active on the boards on both ends of the floor. The Dubs out rebounded the Rockets 38 to 26 and in paint points 42-30. However, the Warriors must play better defense in transition, as well as play with more discipline as far as fouls are concerned.