Coming into tonight’s game in Houston, the Warriors were 0-3 on the season against the Rockets, including a 104-109, record setting drubbing earlier in the year at the Toyota Center. Tonight was different, though, as the previously highest-scoring offense in the league (at 106.9 ppg) was held to just 78 points as Golden State put together a 30-point win of its own. But despite the Warriors 23-point halftime lead, the rout wasn’t REALLY on until the 4th quarter, as the Rockets used the 3rd period to cut Golden State’s lead to just 5 before the Warriors finished the game on a 29-9 run in the game’s final 8 minutes. While 3 Warriors finished the game with double-doubles, it may have been Klay Thompson’s performance that was most important. During the Rockets 3rd quarter run, it was his 11 points that buoyed the offensive attack, and his 3 big 3-pointers kept the Rockets from completely taking the momentum away from the Warriors. Thompson was also a big reason that James Harden finished the game 6-16 from the field.
Full-Game Highlights (via @gumbyhighlights):
The Warriors played great defense from the get-go, holding Houston to a season low 10 points on 3-23 shooting in the 1st quarter. In the game, the Dubs only deficit came after Jeremy Lin hit the game’s first basket to give the Rockets a 2-0 lead. After an embarrassing performance against the Bulls Friday night, the Warriors came into the game just a half-game ahead of Houston for the 6th seed. A loss would have seen the Rockets jump them in the standings, but tonight the Warriors weren’t having it. It was the kind of performance that fans could expect from the Warriors earlier in the season, when they seemed to respond to adversity better than they did success. With the 108-78 win, their hold on the 6th seed grew to 1.5 games, and their hold on a playoff spot to 3 games over the Utah Jazz. Some notes from the game:
-Andrew Bogut might have had his best game as a Warrior tonight, with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks while hitting 4-4 on free throw attempts. He was a monster at the defensive end and on the glass, and did a good job converting scores when Houston switched smaller players on him down low.
-Stephen Curry lead all players in points (with 29) and assists (11) and pulled down 5 rebounds to go with just 3 turnovers. He finished the game 5-11 from beyond the arc, and scored 14 points during the Warriors 2nd quarter run that saw them push the lead to 23 points.
-Klay Thompson knocked down 6 of 9 3-point attempts, and outscored counterpart James Harden 26 to 21. He also collected 4 rebounds while turning the ball over 4 times. His strong perimeter defense and length helped bother Harden on his drives to the basket.
-David Lee narrowly recorded his league-leading 44th double-double (in 65 games), with 10 points and 10 rebounds. It wasn’t his best game, but it didn’t need to be with the Warriors guards combining for 55 points and 11-20 from beyond the arc. Lee also dished out 4 assists in the win.
-Harrison Barnes began the game hot, but finished just 4-10 for 9 points. He also added 5 rebounds in 18 minutes, but played a small role in the win. His biggest contribution was defense on Warriors nemesis Chandler Parsons, who finished the game just 2-13 (1-6 from 3PT). Parsons had been a pain in the Warriors side all year, and memorably tweeted Mark Jackson’s one-time catch phrase “hand down, man down” after the Rockets blowout win against Golden State on February 5th.
-Jarrett Jack had a nice game setting up Thompson and Curry, finishing with 9 assists to just 1 turnover. He added 8 points on just 3-11 shooting, but also played the best defense on Jeremy Lin of anyone all night.
-The rest of the bench didn’t play much of a role in the win, as Carl Landry and Festus Ezeli finished with just 12 minutes played. Landry added 6 points and 3 rebounds, while Ezeli had 2 points, 3 rebounds and a blocked shot.
-Lin continued his success against his former team, scoring 21 on 9-16 shooting and dishing out 4 assists. His season averages in 4 games against the Warriors finish at 19.5 points and 6.8 assists on 48% shooting and just 1.3 turnovers. He also averaged 2.3 made 3s at 50% shooting.
-The Warriors next game is a back-to-back at New Orleans, the worst team, by record, in the Western Conference. It’s an essential must win for a team trying to hold off 3 others for the 6th seed, and quite possibly, the conference’s final playoff spot. The Hornets are just 2-8 in their last 10 games.