Mama Said Knock You Out
You just don't know what you will get out of the Rockets or the Warriors on any given night. You know there will be a lot of shots, but you don't know what kind of shooting there will be. These teams both like to jack shots and if they make them, you're in trouble, but if they miss them, they're in trouble. It's a craps shoot really.
Well, with the injury to Chris Paul the odds have shifted dramatically. The Rockets have been forced to play without their Playoff leader and instead have had to give minutes to such illustrious names as Joe Johnson (what year is it anyway?), Ryan Anderson and Aaron Jackson. It shouldn't have come down to this but it has. James Harden, the MVP of the league, finally made a 3 pointer after 22 straight misses and the Rockets looked good in the first quarter putting 39 points on the Warriors for a 17 point lead. Golden State found their offense in the second quarter, outscoring Houston 29-22, but still trailed 61-51 at the half.
The Rockets were forced to start their star 6th man Eric Gordon and it seemed to work as they came out blazing. The Rockets certainly threw the first punch and Gordon was a big part of it making 4 shots from downtown. The Warriors on the other hand found themselves forced into late possession iso ball because of the relentlessness of the Rockets switching defense. At the end of the first half it looked like the rest of the series thus far: Houston forcing the Dubs to play outside of their normal ball movement offense.
And then the third quarter happened again. As has been the trend the Warriors dominated the quarter, this time led by Klay Thompson, who scored 35 overall, including 9-14 on 3 pointers, and Steph Curry who had 29 points on 12-23 from the floor. Golden State got 23 out of Kevin Durant, making for 87 points from their Big 3. The Warriors would outscore the Rockets 64-25 in the second half and the most obvious reason, besides making shots, was visibly apparent: ball movement.
Klay Thompson led the way, both in scoring and by example, by moving without the ball and finding himself and the ball at the same place at the right time. The ball carries energy, for this team more than any other, and the more the ball moves before arriving at a shot, the better chance that ball has of going through the hoop. That energy in turn translates into a more active and engaged defense, making the Warriors the most potent overall team in the NBA when they are on their game. The second half of Game 6 showed that. Finally the Dubs looked like the team everybody expected and feared.
Throughout the Western Conference Finals the Rockets have thrown the first punch. Sometimes the Warriors have taken that punch and out boxed the Rockets, other times it was the Rockets outlasting the Dubs. With Chris Paul out of the line up and Golden State finding their game, the series is over. Game 7 is a formality, one last punch.
Mama said knock you out...