After a day off for rest and recuperation, the Houston Rockets were back in the fold to take on the Golden State Warriors tonight.
I had only hoped to see an improved effort over the piss-poor one we saw this past Saturday.
I have to admit that last season’s contest against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals was a lot more competitive and we had to make them work for their advancement to the NBA Finals.
But my oh my have times changed…
There is still a possibility that our Rockets could get swept out the door like yesterday’s news.
If the Rockets continue to play they have been, it’s almost a certainty.
I still do believe that this team can beat their formidable opponent at least once this series but it’s going to have to take a concerted effort from the entire team, something that they’ve lacked for the entire season.
I had hoped for the best tonight as the Rockets were at wishfully thinking to make things competitive.
I know Motiejunas isn’t as light on his feet as Brewer but D-Mo is more refined with his skills and can beat you in so many other ways.
Although we didn’t have him for a good chunk of this season as well as close to the last quarter of the 2014-15 season, he still is that “Stretch Four” that provides versatility like none other.
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I just wished that he could start sinking threes like he used to but I think that will come with time.
The Rockets came out with guns a-blazing but the same problems that plagued them in Game 1 were present once again.
They were slow on defensive rotations and although they were quicker in regard to moving the ball around, the shots were just not falling.
But as I watched this game, it’s apparent how much of a difference that Stephen Curry makes.
They’re still a good team without him but they’re a GREAT team with him.
They’re offensive rotations were business as usual with other guys stepping up knocking down the three-pointers with Andre Iguodala leading the charge with three early ones in the first quarter. He ended up going 4-for-6 from three.
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But despite their blunders on the defense, the Rockets continued to find ways to score and stay in the game.
James Harden was certainly a factor this game as he dutifully involved in every offensive play as usual and got to the free throw multiple times that were in the double-digits.
He finished with 28 points, 11 assists and going 13-for-15 from the charity stripe but only 36.8 percent from the field.
But he ended up going 7-for-19 from the field, hardly an admirable performance in that regard.
That was the difference-maker because if Harden’s not involved somehow, it becomes rather difficult for this team to win period.
Although D-Mo did start this game, he seemed to be way too slow to keep up with the Warriors’ small lineup; and, as a result, we saw more of Josh Smith who did contribute quite well with nine points in 18 minutes, including going 3-for-4 on treys.
Bickerstaff continued to trot out Brewer — too much angst from Rockets fans — to see if he could bring back the magic he had last season.
But unfortunately, he doesn’t have it and he has a hefty contract to go along with that.
Yes, the Greyhound is busted with a flat.
The problem with this game is that the Rockets would try to get a little closer and the Warriors would pull a magic trick out of their hats to push them back.
In fact, the Rockets longest lead last for only 1:50, when they were up 6-5 in the first quarter.
That’s not something to write home about and it’s tough pill to swallow despite the improved effort they had tonight.
Patrick Beverley arguably had perhaps his best game — 13 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, 50 percent shooting — I’ve seen since he has been a Rocket but with most things that have happened for the team this year, it was too little, too late.
I was hoping to see Playoff Dwight Howard tonight but it looks as if it may be a thing of the past — he did contribute 12 points, 10 rebounds but it appears he’s just a shell of his old self after being ferociously blocked by Andrew Bogut and eventually fouling out on the next possession late in the game.
Space City Scoop
When it was all said it done, the Warriors proved that they could still beat us without their star player and that this particular team as we know it will likely be dismantled soon enough.
And as I expected, Klay Thompson had an excellent performance with 34 points, including going 15-of-16 from the free throw line being the pivot point for a well-oiled machine.
It was a great match up between Beard and Klay but it’s clearly obvious that Klay won this one tonight.
So there you have it, a 115-106 loss to the Warriors and the Rockets facing a 0-2 deficit heading back to H-Town.
I can’t say I wasn’t too surprised to see it but it was a better effort tonight.
But unfortunately, they don’t hand out trophies for that.
But let’s do it again Red Nation and hope for a win this series instead of gentleman’s sweep the media talking heads have heralded.
See you Thursday at 8:30 p.m. CDT.