Warriors force Rockets to miss at least 33 threes in 2nd straight playoff game
On Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets tried to shake off Game 7 a year ago against the Dubs. They failed.
In Game 1 of this year’s NBA Western Conference semifinal series, the Rockets didn’t plummet to the depths they experienced late last May in Texas, but they still missed a truckload of triples and lost to the Warriors.
Last year in Houston, with the Rockets one win away from dethroning the Dubs and simultaneously returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995, Mike D’Antoni’s team missed 27 straight threes and finished 7 of 44 from downtown. That’s right: Houston missed 37 threes and went down with the ship.
As the Rockets encountered the Warriors in the showdown which is likely to produce the NBA Western Conference champion for 2019, there was no guesswork involved: Houston would continue to launch threes and try to draw fouls. That is the Daryl Morey blueprint carried out by D’Antoni and James Harden.
Did the Rockets shoot better? Yes. Did they shoot well enough to win? No — not at all.
Houston didn’t shoot in the teens as it did in Game 7 versus the Warriors in the deciding game of last year’s West Finals. Yet, the Rockets still didn’t make 30 percent of their long balls against the Dubs. Moreover, they once again missed at least 33 bombs in a 14-of-47 performance from long range.
Houston fans will say that some of these shots were open, as was the case last year in Game 7. Yet, a lot of them weren’t open. The Rockets are walking a fine line by taking uncomfortable long-distance shots when they can’t earn free throws. The Warriors sometimes hunt the three too often, but in this game, the Dubs were more patient in that regard, and it paid off for them. It’s hard to knock the Warriors when they hold Houston to 100 points. Steve Kerr will take a 100-point performance from his defense throughout this best-of-seven series.
Some will say the Rockets just need to shoot better, especially Harden, who was 4 of 16 from 3-point range. Yet, shot selection carried the Warriors on a day when they overcame 20 turnovers. Can Houston really win games attempting over 40 threes if the shots aren’t regularly falling? Will the Rockets accept making 27 percent of 45 3-point attempts and missing 33 more threes each night?
The Warriors hope the Rockets will.
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