Rockets Go Down 0-2 to Warriors: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

James Harden when he had normal looking eyeballs.
James Harden when he had normal looking eyeballs. Photo by Jeff Balke
There were times in game two when the Rockets were within double digits of the Warriors and it seemed like a miracle. In the first half alone, the Rockets were down as much as 14 points, had 13 turnovers and gave up 14 offensive rebounds. That doesn't even count an extended stretch when James Harden was out after being poked in both eyes and having his left eyelid lacerated by Draymond Green. And yet it was a seven-point game heading into the fourth quarter winning 114-109 in Oakland. Shortly thereafter, it was down to 4.

The narrative going into the game was the officials, but they were barely noticed with the rather ragged play from both teams. Ultimately, the mistakes were too much for the Rockets as the Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter. The series returns to Houston on Friday with the Rockets down 0-2.


Scott Foster

In the end, the most controversial referee for Houston since Jake O'Donnell appearing in game two after the furor over missed calls in game one turned out to be much ado about nothing. Aside from the normal griping about calls, the game was without incident and that's a good thing for both Foster and the NBA.

Kevin Durant

No one has had an answer for KD this postseason and the Rockets are no exception. Not only was he dominant offensively, but his length on defense gave the Rockets fits on the perimeter and in the paint. He is a beast and almost impossible to contain on both ends of the floor.

Clint Capela Lobs

As effective as the lob pass to Capela was during the season, it has been much less so in the playoffs. Golden State has been particularly adept at cutting off that option and taking away easy shots in the process. The Rockets will have to figure out other ways to get Capela involved because they need him.

Austin Rivers

After missing game one with an illness, Rivers was a spark plug in game two. When Harden went out early in the game with the injury, he hit big shots, played great defense and generally acted like a pest.


Eyeballs and Index Fingers

Within just a couple minutes of one another, Steph Curry dislocated his left index finger and James Harden got poked in the eye. Neither was quite the same, but Harden did manage to have a solid effort despite being in quite a bit of discomfort throughout the game.

Chris Paul

The Rockets point guard just did not look like himself. He scored 18 points and had 5 assists and 6 rebounds, but his game was quiet and mostly ineffective. His 4 turnovers were also uncharacteristic for Paul. He will need to improve a lot if the Rockets are going to extend this series.

Offensive Rebounding

The biggest weakness for the Rockets all season and that has not changed in the post season. The Rockets gave up 18 offensive rebounds, 14 in the first half alone. Given how many boards they lost, it was a miracle the game was ever close. They have to be at least competitive on the glass to have a chance in the series.


The other huge issue for the Rockets was turnovers. They had 17 for the game, but 13 in the first half, many unforced. Those are the kinds of hustle points you simple cannot give up on the road in the playoffs and expect to win. They must regroup when they get back on their home court.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke