Jason Terry’s Pregame Comment
With the Warriors leading the series 3-1 we return to Oakland. The Rockets hoping to extend the series for a trip back to Houston and the Warriors hoping to end the series and get some extra rest before the next round. With no Stephen Curry and the Rockets looking more unified and in sync than they have all year and fighting to stay alive many viewers, including Warriors fans, thought there was a possibility the series could return to Houston. However, Houston made a grave mistake, actually one player in particular, that cost Houston the game. It wasn’t in the 1st quarter or the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th quarter; it was hours before the game even started. Jason Terry guaranteed, to the world, the Rockets would win game 5, in Oakland, and serve the Warriors a “long flight back to Houston”. Apparently, when not playing in his own team’s games, Terry had been living under a rock. Somehow he was completely unaware that this is the LAST team on the face of the earth, in any sport, that you want to say something like that about. The minute I heard that Terry made that comment I not only guaranteed a Warriors victory but said it would be by at least 30.
The Warriors have so frequently used opponent’s slights, words, or attitudes as fuel to annihilate opponents, even if they have to twist their words or overreact. This, however, took none of that, Terry supplied it all himself. To guarantee victory against this team is one thing, but to guarantee it on their own court, that they defend with so much pride, is on another level entirely. Does Terry not remember what happened last year when Harden said, “ they ain’t even that good”? How did that turn out? If the Warriors had any jitters or nerves about trying to close out the series at home without Steph, Jason Terry effectively handled it, and if the Warriors were going to win anyway, Terry simply doubled the margin of victory.
The Warriors opened the game with the pedal to the metal and never let up. From start to finish it was all Warriors all night. Zero lead changes, never any doubt whatsoever. It was the single most dominant performance I have seen all year (aside from maybe the 50 point victory over Memphis). The Warriors started on an 8-0 run and never looked back. By the end of the 1st quarter, the Warriors were up 37-20 with James Harden being the only Rockets player to make a field goal and were up by 22 at halftime. They once again displayed impenetrable defense, unless it’s an unguardable James Harden shot, and beautiful Warriors passing with assists on 90% of made baskets in the 1st quarter. The only area in which the Warriors struggled was rebounding and second chance points. Were it not for second chance points this game, it very easily would have been a 50 point victory. At one point the Rockets were up 17-0 in second chance points but still losing by 20 points. But despite the rebounding struggles, the Warriors’ hot hands and strong defense made sure this was never a close contest.
The game started out with Houston calling a time out about a minute in when the Warriors jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three pointers from Draymond and Klay Thompson who finished with 27 points going 10 of 14 from the field and 7 of 11 from 3 point land becoming the first player in playoff history to make 7 threes in consecutive games. In the 3rd quarter he became so unconscious that he would just shoot from wherever he caught it and it was going in including one Curry-esque 3 pointer from about the half court logo. It was so far out you could see Ariza made a conscious decision to not even bother guarding him that far out. Draymond also had a big game of his own going 5 of 9 from the field with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. Shaun Livingston, once again, had a stellar shooting performance only missing one shot going 6 of 6 in the 1st half and 7 of 8 overall with 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Brandon Rush also had a nice contribution of 15 points in just 17 minutes and went 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Not only was the Warriors offense unstoppable shooting 55% from the field, as a team, for the game with 30 assists on 45 made buckets and only committed 9 turnovers, but their defense was equally stellar holding the Rockets to 32% shooting for the game and forcing 17 turnovers, had 10 steals, and 6 blocked shots.
With the Warriors coming out, starting the game the way they did, and the Rockets offense seeming stagnant or just being unable to score against a Warriors team, fired up from Terry’s comments, Harden decided he’d have to do it all by himself. For the 1st quarter he did just that as he was the only Rockets player to make a field goal and had 18 of his team’s 20 1st quarter points as he went 6 of 8 from the field and 4 for 4 from the free throw line. He ended up finishing 12 of 23 from the field with 35 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Dwight Howard finished, a pitiful, 3 of 13 from the field with 8 points, but did haul in a monster 21 rebounds providing his team with many second chance points which held the Warriors to a 33 point victory.
The only thing more disappointing (or enjoyable depending on your point of view) than Howard’s 3 of 13 shooting night was Jason Terry going 0 for 7 with zero points after guaranteeing a Rockets win and doing nothing to back it up. Harden did his best to carry the Rockets on his shoulders, but against a team this, all around, skilled with this much depth that’s this good it was just nowhere near enough. Now that this series is over all the Warriors can do is wait and see who they play next. Portland took a 3-2 lead over the Clippers tonight, and without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin it’s looking likely that Portland will be the next opponent. It’s very unfortunate what happened to the Clippers, but ever since Curry’s knee injury everything has played out as good as it possibly could have.
The Warriors finished the Rockets in 5, the Clippers lost both their superstars to injury, and the Warriors, even without Curry, would most likely make short work of the Blazers or Clippers (as they are now). As if that’s not enough a clearer picture on Curry’s injury is coming around and it’s looking like he’ll be back within 2 weeks which would probably be around game 2 or 3 of the next series.