The glimmer of hope the Houston Rockets had of turning their playoff series with the Golden State Warriors around was whisked away with a loss in game 2 despite not facing Stephen Curry. Turns out Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and the others can handle themselves just fine.
The Rockets did lead in this game for a very short while. Their last lead came with ten minutes remaining in the first. The Warriors took over from there. The Rockets managed to tie the game early in the second quarter, but once again a Warriors run took them away, slowly creating some distance, and making sure they travel to Houston knowing they’re in a very comfortable spot.
Thompson scored 34 points with 15 of them coming from the line. Even without Curry, the refs really like making things easier for the Warriors, although it wasn’t as obvious as in other games. They only had three more shots from the line compared to Houston. James Harden got the number of free throws he likes (13-for-15) en route to 28 points. But he kept missing 3’s (1-for-8), and despite his 11 assists, this was another game in which he seemed to be aching for another playmaker to help him out.
Dwight Howard wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t very helpful either. The combination of his declining athleticism and poor defensive help the Rockets almost seem to be proud of made their minutes with him on the floor to be their worst of the game, as Howard finished with a -22 during 35 minutes, which is more than he should be playing these days. He fouled out of the game, while Harden and Josh Smith picked up five fouls as well. The Rockets were called for 34 fouls compared to 24 by the Warriors.
Besides Thompson there was Iguodala, who does his essential work quietly, but just as effectively as Draymond Green. His defense isn’t as bullying and easy to spot, but just as good. His passing wasn’t as necessary this time, but he runs the offense and does the point forward thing just as good as Green. He didn’t win Finals MVP a year ago for nothing. He also hardly made any mistakes in the 115-106 win, finishing with 18 points.
So what does this tell us about the rest of the series? That it’s probably not going to take very long before the Rockets begin their spring-summer vacation. That Curry might be able to take another game of rest. The Warriors don’t look like it’s easy for them when he’s not playing, but evey without him, they’re so good they can handle anything the Rockets throw at them. Barring a crazy shooting night from Harden (which can happen once, or maybe even twice in this series), there’s nothing the Rockets have the Warriors should be concerned about.