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Back to the future: Warriors vs. Rockets

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How did Golden State do with their keys to victory against Houston?

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 108-94 on Wednesday night, in a game full of ups and downs. On the bright side, they won, and Jordan Poole and Draymond Green both excelled. They also did it despite being shorthanded. But it wasn’t as convincing of a win as you might expect against a team on a 17-game skid, and it came with Steph Curry suffering a tailbone contusion.

A lot to like and a lot to hate. Let’s revisit the pregame keys to victory.

Take it and run

The key: Jump out early and don’t let up.

The outcome: The Warriors did well with this key, they just have a different definition of “early” than I do.

The first quarter was oddly close. The Warriors looked a little disjointed on both ends of the court, and only had a four-point lead when they handed the keys over to the second unit.

And then things took off. The Dubs outscored the Rockets 37-17 in the second frame, and the game was essentially in the books when the teams headed to the locker rooms at half time.

Is the second quarter early? It’s not really what I had in mind, but it kind of works.

Grading the key: 6.5 out of 10.

D up

The key: Put the clamps on Houston’s atrocious offense.

The outcome: You’d be forgiven for expecting the Warriors to do better against one of the league’s worst offensive teams. But it was still a decent enough performance. The Dubs gave up just 17 second quarter points, just 50 second half points, and held the Rockets under 100.

They also forced 16 turnovers, and held Houston to 41.3% shooting.

The one place where the Warriors defense struggled mightily was in the foul department. The Dubs committed 26 fouls, leading to a whopping 40 free throws. 40! Now 40 free throws might have been expected when the Rockets had James Harden, but they don’t anymore.

It was a defensive performance that was fine, but won’t work against more competent offensive squads.

Grading the key: 4.5 out of 10.

Get Steph some help

The key: Find easy buckets and secondary scorers.

The outcome: I’m not sure how many easy buckets the Warriors got. They shot a rather normal 45.6% from the field, and only earned 12 free throw attempts all night. Kind of a fail in the easy bucket department.

But secondary scorers? Jordan Poole would like to say hello. The second-year combo guard continued his post-G League bubble takeover, leading the team with 23 points and shooting 6-for-11 from deep. Add in 36 combined points from the Warriors starting wings, and a season-high 16 from Draymond Green (on 7-for-8 shooting), and the Warriors didn’t even need a big night from Steph Curry.

Grading the key: 7 out of 10.

Some things to fix, but a win is a win!