It's odd to say the star-studded, highly decorated Warriors are playing with a chip on their shoulder, but given how much hype the Rockets have received this season, Golden State could take its game to another level to prove its point. There were shoving matches, coaching moves and counter-moves, seven ties and five lead changes in a game the Warriors won 119-106.
It's finally here! The Western Conference Finals get underway this evening after almost a week since both teams played.
"It's nice to have home court", D'Antoni said. To italicize their playoff dominance, they haven't lost more than one game in their last six playoff series.
The Warriors still led 87-80 after three thanks to a massive third quarter from Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant was the difference maker, finishing the night with 37 points.
Golden State knocked down 13 3-pointers in the game and shot 52.5 from the field. The Rockets were working very hard for every look at the basket, while it looked too easy for the Warriors as they feasted on cuts and kick outs.
"Houston, they never stop", Durant said. The Warriors will be waiting to strike in Game 1, but if the Rockets can win on Monday, it could give them a huge mental lift. On his sixth 3-point make of the game, the Rockets left Thompson so open that he had time to take a dribble just for fun. Curry had 18 points and made only one 3-pointer, though he found a way to make an offensive impact in other ways with eight assists and a variety of driving layups.
"It's been a while since we've started out a series on the road", Draymond Green told Haynes.
Harden had stretches of brilliance, and led Houston with 41 points, but he was unable to will his team to keep up with the Warriors once they got rolling. They will get hot. The Rockets acquired Chris Paul to take pressure off Harden.
However, I think the 2015-16 Cavs are the toughest team Golden State has faced under Steve Kerr.
"This will help. They're still going to get us to a certain degree, but hopefully we can lessen it more than if we just had a traditional center that can't guard on the perimeter". Green played a marvelous defensive game and was a game-best plus-19 after a shaky start.