With perhaps the most dominant team & individual performance of the postseason, the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry take a 3-0 lead over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference finals following a 115-80 beatdown, leaving no doubt about who is going to win this series and who ‘Da Real MVP’ is.
Curry scored 40 points in his best showing of the playoffs, hitting 12-of-19 shots and being absolutely deadly from beyond the arc, making seven 3-pointers and setting a new playoffs record by hitting five or more 3-pointers in five consecutive games. The Rockets didn’t know what to do with him, but throughout this game, scoring more than 19 points in a quarter just once (third quarter), the Rockets didn’t seem like they had a clue what they’re doing after two very close games at the Oracle Arena.
The Rockets looked lost. Offensively, with bad shots all around, and defensively, with Dwight Howard holding his arms up time and time again, watching his teammates lose their mean for very easy baskets. The Warriors shot “just” 45.4% from the field and that’s only because they had so much time in this game without having to worry about the consequence. A key player like Harrison Barnes was ice cold, not scoring a single point and going 0-of-9 from the field. It just goes to show how one sided this game was.
The Warriors cut down their turnovers to 13 and punished the Rockets for every miss. Houston shot just 33.7% from the field and 20% from beyond the arc. For a team that relies so heavily on 3-pointers, being so off the mark and so careless in its attempts to calm the game down and come back from a terrible start (52-37 in the first half), these kind of percentages are unforgivable, and a sure way to be humiliated in front of their home fans.
This isn’t the first time in this postseason that the Rockets have looked broken, like they’ve given up, and like there’s no steering hand, on the court or on the sidelines. James Harden did get to the line 11 times (making 10 shots) but he was absolutely awful from the field (3-of-16), ending up scoring 17 points. It was hard to find a shining, bright spot out of anyone for Houston, losing three games in a row for the first time this season.
Yes, they came back from 1-3 down against the Clippers after two very big losses. But from this? The Warriors seem to get better with every game, and with every challenge raised to them they equally raise their level. The defense was almost impeccable, this time standing firm and not gambling with steals or blocked shots. For quite a few moments, it seemed like the perfect team. Impregnable, unbeatable, impossible to figure out.
There’s at least one more game to be played in this series and who knows, maybe the Rockets have some honor and heart left to turn this thing around. But from some beatings you can’t recover, especially when the other team is focused and disciplined. The Warriors won’t be denied, especially not by whatever the Rockets have been turned into.