Warriors Destroy Rockets, Go Up 2-1: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Chris Paul struggled in game three for the Rockets, but who on his team didn't?
Chris Paul struggled in game three for the Rockets, but who on his team didn't? Photo by Jeff Balke
Bouncing back from a game two drubbing in Houston, the Golden State Warriors handed it to the Rockets Sunday night in Oracle Arena 126-85. The 41-point loss was the worst loss in Rockets postseason history, the largest loss by a team that won 65 games or more in the regular season and the biggest postseason win in Warriors franchise history. You have to hand it to the Rockets, when they lose, they do it up big.

Nothing worked for the Rockets after the first quarter. Despite poor shooting and far too many turnovers, they were within 11 at the half, but a 10-0 Warriors run to open the third quarter was the nail in the coffin. Steph Curry snapped out of his coma scoring 35 (he had 34 in the first two games combined) as the teams await game four in Oakland on Tuesday.


4. Rockets protecting the ball.

Early in the game, Eric Gordon took a pass after a basket and fumbled it. He recovered for a second only to dribble it off his leg and create an unforced turnover in the backcourt. That summed up a 19-turnover performance for the Rockets, who had been pretty good at protecting the ball prior to Sunday night.

3. Rockets being prepared.

Houston seemed to revert to its slow, methodical play of game one when they weren't dribbling the ball off their own feet. Worst of all, they allowed the best third-quarter team in basketball to blow by them and put the game away coming out of halftime. Coach Mike D'Antoni called the team's play "soft" and he wasn't wrong.

2. Layup drills.

You would think the Rockets had never made a layup before after all the missed shots at the basket on Sunday night. They may want to consider going back to some good old fashioned layup drills on Monday ahead of game four. Couldn't hurt.

1. Parity

It's no fun to be the fan of another player or team when there is a dynasty happening. When the Bulls were beating everyone or the Patriots or the Yankees, it sucked to be a fan of anyone else. If you loved Phil Mickelson, you had to hate Tiger Woods. And for tennis lovers, nothing was as painful as wanting to see an Andy Roddick win over Roger Federer. If the Rockets can't beat the Warriors, Golden State will be in their fourth NBA Finals in four years with a chance for their third win. Sucks to be anyone else.


4. The Warriors at home.

Sunday night's win was their 16th straight in the postseason at Oracle Arena, an NBA record. They are damn near impossible to beat in their own building, but the Rockets will have to do it at least once if they want to win the series.

3. Fans too nervous to watch close games.

For all the talk about how competitive this series could be, the first three games have been essentially blowouts. Casual NBA fans, besides marveling at a few unreal shooting displays, must be pretty bored by this series so far.

2. Other Houston sports.

The good news on Sunday for Houstonians is that the Astros beat the Indians to take that series 2-1 behind Lance McCullers's gem (5 perfect innings and only 1 hit through 7 with 8 strikeouts) and Brian McCann's McCanonball two-run homer. And the Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 as well. Good night if your Houston team wasn't the Rockets.

1. Steph Curry

For much of the playoffs, Curry looked human. His shot wasn't falling and he seemed to be suffering after effects from his late-season injury. But that all changed in game three when he went off for 35 points and began to look like himself again. That's not a good sign for the Rockets going forward.
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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