Saturday, October 24, 2020

Warriors Surge in 2nd Half, Force Game 7

Houston Rockets 86 - 115 Golden State Warriors

The Warriors surge in the 2nd half and end up winning by 29 points. Houston lead big at half, but couldn’t keep it together. The Splash Brothers were in full effect, coming out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. The Rockets fell apart in the second in all areas, as the Warriors made every play that needed made. Game 7 will be Monday night to decide if Golden State will advance to their 4th straight, or if the Rockets can finally get over that hump.

Rocket Implosion

After a huge first quarter, it looked like the Rockets would be walking their way into their first finals appearance. Leading by 17 after the first, it looked like they had this game in control. The Warriors fought back slowly, but the Rockets kept up the defensive pressure, taking a 10 point lead into half. Then, it all just started unravelling. The Warriors came immediately out and had an 11-0 run. The Rockets kept it close until around 3 minutes left in the quarter. The Warriors out scored the Rockets 64 – 25 in the 2nd half, with a whopping 9 point quarter from Houston in the 4th.

Turnovers were a huge part of the comeback. Coming out from half and giving the ball up multiple times in less than 6 possessions, it was the start of the end. It just got worse and worse, and it dug into the players psyche. Harden led the team with 32 points and had 9 assists, but also had 9 turnovers and airballed multiple threes during the Warriors run. Gordon, 19 points, struggled from the line going 1-4. Ariza had 14 points. He came out firing in the first half, but disappeared in the second. 

The loss of Paul was felt, especially in the late game situation. Houston went with a 7 man rotation, until the game was over. The Warriors ran away and no one stepped up to lead on the floor as fatigue set in. Harden tried in the 3rd, but after not getting a foul call, and Thompson tying it with a quick three, just faded away. Missing shots terribly, and not looking like the MVP, but more like the guy who disappeared in the 2012 Finals for OKC.

This could be the death blow as Harden may just disappear in game 7 after the utter decimation they faced in the 2nd half. They threw their best shot at the Warriors, in the first half and it was working. But, the second half was a different story. They need to get other people going early and often to get Harden easier looks without Paul on the floor if they want to reach a finals.

Warriors Surge

It looked like it was going to take a herculean effort to overcome the odds and beat Houston after the first half. Not only did they get one, they got two. Both Splash Brothers were cooking in the second half, shooting 50% from three combined. Coming out at half and going on an 11-0 run, the momentum started to shift. The Rockets battled throughout the 3rd, but Klay Thompson and Curry just kept putting daggers in them. By then end of the game the Houston defense looked like Julius Caesar during the Ides of March.

Thompson took control of the game in the second half. Finishing with 35 points, going 9-14 from deep, he paced the offense in the 2nd half, opening up Curry to add in 29 points. Hitting multiple daggers in the process. Durant chipped in 23 points in an off night for him. The 3 stars carried the team as no other player scored in double figures.

The ball was moving beautifully. The team finishing with 26 assists. Draymond Green led the team with 9, but his biggest impact was on defense. Recording 5 blocks and 4 steals, he was the anchor that kept Houston off balance, leading to a 9 point 4th quarter from them. Thompson added 4 steals, and Curry had 3 blocks. The team finished with 11 steals and 10 blocks in a dominate 2nd half.

This is the Warriors team we all expected to see, it just took an elimination game to get it back out. Thompson finally showed up like the star he is, and the Rockets had no answer. Still not having Iggy, Kerr played energetic rookie Jordan Bell for long stretches, and I think he found a replacement. Long and athletic, he will plug in and do his job well. Game 7 will be an interesting dogfight, especially if Paul can play.

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