Warriors Annihilate Rockets in Game 3 Win
The Golden State Warriors took care of business at home in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, defeating the Houston Rockets in a 126–85 blowout.
Steph Curry broke out of his shooting slump, leading his team with 35 points on 13–23 shooting, including 5–12 from 3-point range.
Curry started off slow, carrying over from games 1 and 2, in which he was only a combined 2–13 from deep. However as the Warriors went on their routine 3rd quarter run, Steph began to find his shot. He initially found the basket by cutting off the ball, getting easy backdoor layups off of quick passes from Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. Once he was in a rhythm, Curry began firing away from downtown. He was 8–8 for 17 points in the 3rd quarter alone.
Kevin Durant continued his tough shot making, hitting contested mid-range jump-shots whenever the Warriors’ beautiful game offense would break down. Durant finished with 25 points on 9–19 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Though the Rockets have three of the better wing defenders in the NBA in Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute, it appears that none of them have the length to contest Durant in the half-court or the foot-speed to keep up with him when he has the ball in transition. But then again, there might not be any player in the NBA with that skillset.
The Houston Rockets’ offense appeared to regress to its Game 1 form. Chris Paul and James Harden would take turns isolating on who they viewed as desirable switch defenders before attempting many contested shots from distance or at the rim. While this offense was extremely successful for Houston in the regular season, it has proven to be somewhat ineffective against Golden State, particularly when shots are taken late in the shot-clock. The star backcourt finished a combined 12–32 from the field (37.5%).
It didn’t help that the Warriors’ swarming defense was in full effect, forcing the Rockets into 19 turnovers. Andre Iguodala, still the starting small-forward in Golden State’s “Hamptons 5" lineup, finished with a game-high 3 steals. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green were constantly getting into passing lanes and taking advantage of the Rockets’ sloppy distributing. Unlikely heroes Kevon Looney and Nick Young were able to stick with Houston’s guards on switches and force contested shots.
With this victory, the Warriors maintain the home-court advantage that they took from Houston in game 1. If Golden State can continue to take care of business in Oakland on Tuesday, the Rockets will find themselves in an uncomfortable 3–1 series hole. However if Curry’s shooting performance tonight turns out to be an aberration, the Rockets just might be able to steal an away game. On the other hand, if Curry remains this hot in tandem with Durant, the Warriors are essentially unbeatable.