The Warriors guards played well; The Rockets guards didn’t. That’s about all you need to know about the Warriors’ 113-106 win over Houston on Tuesday. Stephen Curry had 32 points, including (what else?) a couple of big buckets late that sealed thing for the Warriors, Klay Thompson did his thing, too, finishing with 25 points.
James Harden suffered another horrible shooting game against the Warriors, going 5-for-20 from the field, while missing eight of his nine 3-point attempts. Harden is 19-for-56 from the field (33.9 percent) and 3-for-25 from 3-point range (12 percent) this year against the Warriors. Eric Gordon, one of Harden’s partners in the backcourt went just 3-for-9 from the floor.
It was the Warriors’ eighth consecutive win and moved them 2.5 games ahead of San Antonio for the best record in the Western Conference.
There are a lot of differences between the Warriors and Rockets but one big one is defense. The Warriors don’t always play defense, but when they put their minds to it, they’re more than capable of strong stretches. The Rockets, on the other hand, don’t seem to have that ability — the knack or the penchant to clamp down for periods of time, if need be. Or clearly can’t do it as frequently as Golden State.
It’s one reason why points never seem far away from the Warriors — and they weren’t in the first quarter. Golden State got off to a terrific start, looking a step quicker and more ready, and they took a 37-20 lead after 12 minutes. The Warriors bumped that lead to 49-27, though slowly but surely, the Rockets climbed back into things. Houston took advantage of some aggressive, reaching defense by the Warriors and got to the line 20 times — making 18 — in the first half. Meanwhile the Warriors got to the line twice.
The Warriors got a little banged-up in Houston. James Michael McAdoo collided with Trevor Ariza late in the first quarter and had to receive seven stitches above his eye. He wasn’t diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms but he also didn’t return to the game. Too bad because McAdoo was off to a nice start, with an assist, a block and nice defensive sequence on Harden.
Draymond Green hurt his left ankle early in the third quarter after falling awkwardly and had to make his way to the locker room. But he was able to return by the end of the third quarter, alleviating some big-time fears.