The Warriors picked a major win in Houston without the services of Kevin Durant
Coming off what could have been their most exceedingly terrible loss of the season, the Golden State Warriors ricocheted back by completion the Houston Rockets’ nine-diversion series of wins with a 106-104 victory on Wednesday night. Three days subsequent to losing to the Suns at home, the Warriors hauled out the success without Kevin Durant, who missed the game with a sore ankle, and avoided being swept in the season series.
Golden State was led by Klay Thompson’s 30 on 5-for-10 3-point shooting, and got an enormous game from DeMarcus Counsins, who completed with 27, eight bounce back and seven aids 27 minutes. Stephen Curry added 24 points for the Warriors, while the Rockets were paced by James Harden’s 29 and Chris Paul’s 24.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Cousins could be Houston’s problem
Cousins had a remarkable by and large game, however what emerged – especially early – was his passing. The uneven focus utilized his falcon eyes and deft touch to convey wonderful passes throughout the night, discovering cutters and shooters alike. Without Durant, the Warriors needed another prominent half-court facilitator, and Cousins fit the bill to a tee.
In a year ago’s playoffs and in wins prior this season, the Rockets’ switch-overwhelming safeguard gave the Warriors fits. It’s harder for them to do that with a danger like Cousins on the floor, and Houston experienced difficulty figuring out how to shield him. Clint Capela played 20 minutes in the primary half since Nene is essentially out of the revolution and Kenneth Faried can’t deal with a skilled center of Cousins’ size. If these teams do end up meeting in the postseason, it will be interesting to see how the Rockets deal with Boogie moving forward.
“It was a good matchup out there for him,” Thompson said of Cousins after the game. “He’s so good at using his size against longer defenders. He just played probably the most complete game he’s played since he’s been here. I mean, I was getting wide-open looks from his passing ability and he adds a whole new dimension to our team, so you saw what he can do with us tonight.”
Prior to the amusement, Curry said the Warriors had a chance to “send a statement” against the Rockets. Just as they have since last year’s playoffs, the Warriors got up for the big game and reminded everyone just how good they can be — even without Durant. The Warriors have seemingly been complacent for a good part of the season, yet still hold the No. 1 seed in the West and appear to rise to the challenge whenever they decide to up the effort. Whether they can do it in the playoffs will be a different story.
Klay remains hot
After missing two games with a sore knee, Thompson has been on an absolute tear. He came into Wednesday having scored 39 and 28 points, respectively, in his last two games, and kept the heat check going on Wednesday. Thompson worked off screens and pulled up for transition 3s, extending the Rockets defense and opening up the lane for Cousins and slashers.
Houston goes ice cold from deep
It wasn’t quite as bad as Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference finals, but the Rockets’ 3-point well ran dry again on Wednesday. They knocked down just 11 of 41 3-point attempts, with Harden, Paul and PJ Tucker combining to go just 5-for-25. As usual, Houston leads the league in 3-pointers made per game, but they just couldn’t find the range against the Warriors. Despite that they managed to claw their way back into the game at the end, but it was too little, too late.
It starts with ‘D’
Steve Kerr has said for the past few weeks that it’s time for Golden State to up its defensive intensity as they prepare for the postseason, and they certainly did it on Wednesday. Various Warriors did a solid job handling Harden’s isolations, and the hustle was definitely there when getting out on shooters. As potent as Golden State’s offense has been, their defense has been just as stout during their mini-dynasty. It seems like they still have the ability to get to that level based on Wednesday night’s win.