Mike D’Antoni and James Harden were far from impressed after the Rockets got destroyed by 41 points in Game 3 by the Warriors.
In Game 2, the Rockets took a step forward, proving that they could beat the Warriors if they played the right way. In Game 3, Houston took a step back again.
Game 3 looked too much like Game 1. The Rockets turned the ball over way too much, a total of 20 times to be exact. They missed easy layups and wide open 3-pointers. On top of that, Houston’s defense was absolutely horrendous, as they gave up 126 points to Golden State.
Playing hard-nosed defense, forcing turnovers and attacking Golden State’s defense early is the formula that worked in Game 2. For some reason, the Rockets just weren’t able to replicate that same magic in Oracle arena.
Did the Rockets get too arrogant? Did the long layoff make them rusty? It’s hard to put a finger on the main culprit, but if the Rockets continue to play like this, they won’t make it to the NBA Finals.
Mike D’Antoni called Houston’s performance soft, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.
“We didn’t switch up into people. We didn’t box out. We played soft actually. You can’t do that with these guys. These guys are good.”
James Harden agreed with his coach, telling reporters that the Rockets were too soft to begin the second half.
“In the second half we came out too slow and too soft. Offensively, we didn’t have any thrust and they exploited it.”
The Warriors gained momentum when the Rockets failed to keep the offense going as Harden took his typical end of the first quarter rest. When Harden checked out with 2:46 left in the opening quarter, the score was 22-22.
At the end of the first quarter, Golden State led 31-22. When Harden checked back in nearly three minutes into the second quarter, the Warriors led 37-27. The Warriors opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run and their lead ballooned to 21 points. At that point, the game was all but over.
The Warriors always make their big run in the third quarter, and the Rockets had no answer for it on Sunday night. Going into halftime down double-digits is a recipe for disaster against Golden State, and it blew up in Houston’s face in Game 3.