Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Warriors down Rockets in opening game of Western Conference finals

Warriors down Rockets in opening game of Western Conference finals

The Houston Rockets are allowing 38.3 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 43.6 rebounds per game.

"We come into this series, we don't post stuff on the wall saying [the Rockets are] obsessed with us", Warriors forward Draymond Green said. "It ends up being "stealing home court" but we don't look at it that way".

The comfort provided by a 2-1 record against the Warriors during the regular season series the Rockets held tight since January was blown away after just four quarters.

'This is why anybody would want him on their team.

"He needs about 55 next time, and that would take care of it", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni quipped. We either didn't switch properly or we didn't switch hard enough. Every time we missed a layup, which we missed a lot of layups, they ran out.

"We've got to do a better job of taking better shots, not turning the ball over and getting back on D", Harden said.

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Mixing it up in the first game of the NBA Western Conference Finals at the Toyota Centre in Houston, both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets went head to head in a battle for basketball supremacy where on this occasion the Warriors came out on top.

Starting a playoff series on the road for the first time since 2014, the Warriors trailed by as many as nine early, but had evened it up by half-time and used a big run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to pull away. Green finished with five points, nine assists and nine rebounds. Chris Paul added 23 points and 11 rebounds for Houston.

But it wasn't enough. And with Golden State featuring its usual brand of ferocious half-court defense, the Rockets didn't have almost enough firepower. Hey, you can live with that. "We're going to take that first punch and keep punching". "The combination of the two was devastating".

The Rockets wouldn't mind seeing a little less of Durant. Each team hit 13 3-pointers. With so much attention on them, the Rockets seemed to lose their defensive focus on basically everyone else.

"I think he's going to get even better as the series goes on, which is good for us", Kerr said of Curry. 'I thought he was extremely good. And you're counting on Ariza, PJ Tucker and other guys to make shots while the Warriors are hitting you with four all stars who show up night in and night out. But tonight, every time we did it, they made the shot.

"They do a really good job if you take bad shots or turn the ball over".

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Just to be clear about what kind of armor the Warriors travel with these days, they've won a game on the road in 18 consecutive playoff series, well before the Durant era.

"So when he's playing aggressive like that, we're really tough to beat".

"They're a good team", Eric Gordon said, stating the obvious. "We just got to be a little better".

The Rockets' must-win game is now Wednesday.

Because there is still no way to account for the experience factor, the muscle memory edge the Warriors have when it comes to recognizing the time and place to apply the ultimate pressure on an opponent that's ready to break.

When the Rockets stay with the Warriors in the third quarter, there was Durant, unloading 13 more on them. "Late third he was going pretty well". "I'll just have to tell him that". We didn't get rattled. The result: a 119-106 victory that swipes home-court advantage from the team that has spent much of the season priming for this matchup.

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After so many months, the title contenders delivered a performance worthy of even the most outsized expectations Monday night at a pulsing Toyota Center packed with leather-lunged fans yelling themselves hoarse and in-house music that thumped like a Las Vegas nightclub.

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