500 Words

500 Words: Western Conference Finals Game 1

Living in Houston, I am privy to the delusion of Rockets fans thinking they actually have a chance against the Warriors. Holding on to the fading history of Clutch City is understandable. The Astros provided a hot shower for the nastiness that came in the form of Harden’s absence from the Rockets’ elimination game and the Texans’ Watt & Watson injuries these fans had to endure. Trust me, I get it. But the thought that these Rockets will beat the Warriors four times in two weeks is just wrong. They won’t. There will be close games –  maybe. But this thing will be over pretty quickly.

Admittedly, I was wrong about the acquisition of Chris Paul. I was in the camp screaming the ball dominance of both he and James Harden over the course of their careers would cause them to clash on the court. I also thought the less than nonchalant effort that James Harden had given on defense would cause the infamously competitive nature of CP3 to reach volcanic eruption levels. But, hey, I was wrong. They played very well all year.

Saying that, last night’s game proved to me how little chance the Rockets had. They had a 30-point first quarter. They were up 1. James Harden had 41 points on over 58% shooting and got to the line 10 times. Steph only made one 3-pointer and had less than 20-points. Draymond had 9 points and 9 rebounds, but only 5 points. The Rockets outrebounded the Warriors. The Warriors still won by 13 on the road. It was like no matter what the Rockets did, the Warriors remained.

I remember turning to my wife saying, “The Rockets better keep scoring”. Harden got off (SO. MANY. ISO’s), but the Warriors were getting whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Curl after curl. Open shot after open shot. The Warriors ball movement so contrasted the Rockets’ that, had you not been looking at the score, they appeared to completely dominate the game for stretches. When the Bay Area Boys’ offense broke down, they have the single most difficult offensive matchup of this generation on their team. Kevin Durant was dealing last night. Serving fresh baked jumpers to whoever attempted to guard him. I had lost appreciation for Durant’s size until Harden, who is typically physically imposing, tried to check him and looked like a little kid out there.

Without getting into analytics, I don’t see a way for the Rockets to combat what the Warriors have. It most definitely is not having Gerald Green set six ballscreens in one possession just to try to get Curry to switch off on Harden. Who are the Rockets going to turn to? Ryan Anderson? Eric Gordon? Joe Johnson? Rockets fans are counting on three of the top scorers in the game to have four bad games in a six-game span. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

Quiet as kept, Houston may get swept up out of here if this keeps up. Just throwing that out there.