The Houston Rockets fought hard and built a 13-point lead in the first half, but couldn’t finish against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
The cards weren’t dealt in the Houston Rockets’ favor to begin with, but it looked as if that might not matter. Despite the many circumstances working against them, they came out strong and surprised the Golden State Warriors with an early double-digit lead. James Harden didn’t play well all night, but his teammates moved the ball nicely and worked things out on defense as well.
Their efforts didn’t last long enough though, as the Warriors held the Rockets scoreless from the 9:40 mark to the 3:00 mark in the fourth quarter. The crowd at Oracle Arena took the momentum away from Houston, and it was over from there.
This was the third loss in a row for the Rockets, their longest losing streak of the season. It also capped the season series with the Warriors in which Houston took just one of four games. It was a disheartening performance, especially after getting fans’ hopes up early in the contest.
James Harden finished with just 17 points to go with 12 rebounds and 8 assists. He shot an abysmal 4/18 from the field, never able to get something going. It would really do him some good to rest that wrist of his in the next couple of games.
Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza each finished with 15 points, and Lou Williams had 13 points and 7 boards. Nobody on the Rockets shot the ball well, though, with only Montrezl Harrell making over 50% of his attempts.
The key to the game for the Warriors was Draymond Green‘s defense. He successfully challenged a huge number of the Rockets’ shots at the rim while he was on the court and came up with 3 blocks and a steal. He led his team with a +15 on the night.
One not-so-highlight from Green’s game, though, was his blatant attack on James Harden’s already-injured wrist. The refs called it a common offensive foul, but it’s clear that there was more harmful intent there. (Biased side-note: as a fan, Draymond Green is my least favorite player to ever step on a basketball court. I don’t care how good he is–I would never, ever, ever want him in a Rockets uniform. The guy is a disgrace to the game with his consistent malicious play. Okay, rant over.)
Draymond Green whacks James Harden's sore wrist. This is yet another disgraceful display from a dirty player: pic.twitter.com/3gU9yQfbbO
— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) April 1, 2017
It took Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson a while to get going, but the Splash Brothers eventually found their range. They finished with 24 and 20 points respectively, combining to shoot 8/18 from three.
More from Space City Scoop
- Houston Rockets: It’s official, Tilman Fertitta was wrong about Chris Paul
- Houston Rockets: Top-8 Rockets ranked by trade value
- Houston Rockets: 3 biggest questions this offseason
- Houston Rockets: Which NBA Draft prospect is the best fit at no. 2?
- Houston Rockets: Why Cade Cunningham isn’t a lock at no. 1 in NBA Draft
In addition to containing the Splash Bros, there were plenty of issues down the stretch for the Houston Rockets. One of them was Clint Capela‘s soft hands. The big man coughed up three untimely turnovers in the fourth quarter, getting ripped too easily or failing to hold onto the ball. Nene sat out this game (he doesn’t play both nights on back-to-backs), and his strength was sorely missed.
Lacking Ryan Anderson‘s floor spacing and rebounding also hurt the Rockets. They had to play small-ball for much of the game, preventing them from being able to secure as many boards as they could have otherwise.
All things considered, Houston fought well and dealt with their shortcomings as best they could. Soon, Harden and Anderson will both be fully healthy, and the team will be able to get some of their confidence back. They play on Sunday night against the Phoenix Suns in what should be an easy win. Let’s sure hope it is, at least.
As the playoffs draw nearer, Space City Scoop will continue to pump out more analysis, news, and opinions on the Houston Rockets, so stay tuned. Follow us on Twitter at @SpaceCityScoop!