Warriors vs. Rockets: Stephen Curry goes cold as Houston regains form in Game 2 blowout win
The Rockets looked like the Rockets again, and now we've got ourselves a series
Ladies and gentlemen, that's what we call a counterpunch. Some wrote off the Houston Rockets for dead after their Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors, but they bounced back with a dominant 127-105 Game 2 win to even the series at 1-1. James Harden and Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 27 points apiece, while Kevin Durant scored a game-high 38 points in the loss.
The Rockets will now look to keep the momentum going as the series shifts to Oakland in Game 3, but they'll have to wait until Sunday. Here are a few takeaways from Game 2.
Now those are the Rockets
Call it shell shock or an ill-conceived gameplan, but the Rockets didn't look like themselves in Game 1. They certainly took care of that in Game 2. James Harden and Chris Paul played well, but it was the contributions up and down the roster that had Houston looking like the team many pegged to give the Warriors their money's worth in the Western Conference finals. The Rockets shot well, played with energy and exhibited championship-level defense to even the series. They zipped the ball around the perimeter to find open shooters, something that was blatantly missing in Game 1.
Now the question is whether or not they can sustain it.
If there's one thing that drives Warriors coach Steve Kerr crazy, it's turnovers -- the Warriors must really hate their coach. They came out of the gate in Game 2 by committing seven first-quarter turnovers, and the Rockets took advantage to build a five-point lead. Golden State only ended up turning it over 15 times, but the damage was done early, as the easy transition baskets gave Houston confidence moving forward.
P.J. Tucker, sharpshooter
In a game that featured Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon, the best shooter on the floor was none other than P.J. Tucker. Formerly known just as a physical defensive stopper, Tucker has become one of the most reliable corner 3-point shooters in his first season with the Rockets -- and he certainly proved it in Game 2. Tucker shot 5-of-6 from the 3-point line en route to 22 points, making several back-breakers along the way to stunt potential Warriors comeback efforts. If the Rockets are going to win this series they're going to need contributions from players besides Harden and Paul, and Tucker proved that he can be a difference-maker.
Ice cold Curry
Slice it any way you like, but the Warriors are going to have a hard time winning this series if Steph Curry can't make 3-pointers. He was 1-of-8 from behind the arc on Wednesday, making him 2-of-13 for the series. Curry missed significant time due to a knee injury at the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, but looked good in his final games against the Pelicans last round. One big difference: The Rockets are relentlessly attacking Curry on the offensive end, forcing him to guard some of the league's best one-on-one players over and over. It's not too much of a stretch to think that Curry's getting a bit fatigued with how hard he has to work on both ends. That being said, he could come out and make 10 3s next game, leaving us all to wonder what we were worried about.
Still no answer for K.D.
Kevin Durant was brilliant once again offensively, scoring 38 points on 22 shots after scoring 37 on 27 shots in Game 1. He took over for Golden State in the third quarter, but was unable to make a significant dent in the Rockets' lead. K.D. has been unstoppable in the post and mid-range, but you have to wonder if he's playing a bit into Houston's hands. They know they can't lock him down, but they also know that if he's playing one-on-one basketball it could potentially take away from the Warriors' multi-faceted offensive attack. It'll will be interesting to see if Durant stops looking for his own shot as often as the series continues.
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