There comes a point in time where athletes have to recognize when to stop doing something. Stop dribbling too much, stop dogging it on defense and, for the love of all that’s holy, stop shooting.
The Rockets refused to acknowledge the latter and chucked up three after three after three, resulting in a “blisteringly” disgusting 7-44 from three point range, a horrendous 15.9%. In the third quarter alone they missed all fourteen three pointers they attempted while allowing Steph Curry to heat up en route to another amazing start to the second half for the Warriors, something they did with incredible ease the last two games of the series.
Knicks fans, ironically, can sympathize with the Rockets fans tonight as they watched their team build a brick castle in Houston, conjuring up painful memories of John Starks going 2-18 (0-11 from three) in Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals, effectively shooting the Knicks out of a Championship against Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets.You could almost hear all of New York City screaming to stop shooting and drive to the basket as the Rockets went ice cold in the second half from beyond the arc; but like Starks, they kept on shooting and D’Antoni, like Pat Riley in 1994, refused to adjust.
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The end result was a 101-92 victory for the Warriors, a game in which the Rockets lead by 11 at the half before going sub-zero cold in the third quarter.
The Rockets can place the blame on a variety of things for their loss tonight. The referees (what exactly is shooting foul and an illegal screen?), another bad third quarter, Trevor Ariza going 0-12, including 0-9 from three point land, Mike D’Antoni bringing in Ryan Anderson who was promptly feasted upon by Steph Curry in the third quarter. But at the end of the game, who was missing from the floor, only later to be captured on camera walking to the locker room with his shirt off while everyone else was congratulating each other over a hard fought Western Conference Finals? Yes, the Rockets’ star player, James Harden, who reverted to his old playoff self in the team’s loss tonight.
The Beard scored 32 points, but he shot 12-29 from the field (41.4%), including 2-13 (15.4%) from the three point line. He also had 5 turnovers to basically negate his 6 assists, further contributing to the continued criticism of Harden’s historic performance in the playoffs and showcasing his inability to step up and cement his legacy amongst the list of elite NBA playoff players and performances.
The team’s lone bright spots were PJ Tucker, who was a beast on the boards, and Clint Capela, who was a dominant force in the paint in the first half. These two combined for 34 points, 21 rebounds and 6 steals, which means that they alone had almost 50% of the latter two stats for the team. That’s very telling for a team who was the #1 overall seed in the League this season and a team who basically called out the Warriors as an opponent in this year’s playoffs.
While the Warriors are moving on to another NBA Finals, the Rockets will be on vacation. Hopefully they’ll be practicing their three point shot or, better yet, practice driving the lane 1,000 times a day.
Don’t worry Rockets fans. If it’s any consolation, New York City (still) feels your pain.