The Highlights

  • It seems unwise to back Golden State after it played a nearly perfect game offensively and defensively.
  • And likewise, the Rockets’ non-Harden players didn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence in Game 1.

Going into this series, I really felt that most of the games, and maybe the series in general, were on a knife edge. In what is frequently referred to as a “make-or-miss league,” sometimes it’s just a handful of possessions in matchups between nearly even teams that swing things one way or the other.

Houston’s role players miss a couple 3s, the Warriors’ bench shoots 8-for-12, Trevor Ariza has an out-of-control minute of play to get into foul trouble, and you see separation. The disconcerting thing if I were a Rockets fan wasn’t necessarily the role players, since Ariza is unlikely to get in THAT big of foul trouble the rest of the series, and when you play him more, you’re playing Gerald Green less, which HAS to be a good thing.

No, the disconcerting thing is that the Warriors were not disrupted whatsoever offensively. They got into offense easily (although they made tough shots), and Houston had to climb a mountain every possession to get what it wanted. The way the Warriors dominated felt like something that could be somewhat replicated throughout the series — maybe not the percentage of makes, because at one point in the second half they were close to 60% from the field, but the types of shots and the ease with which they were created.

That was a really long intro, and now I get to tell you that I’m passing the game, too. Aren’t I just the worst? I think off an A++ effort offensively and defensively, it’s unwise to back Golden State in this situation. The Warriors really can’t play better; that was their peak (and boy was it incredible).

Meanwhile, how can you support Houston as a small favorite when it got so little from its non-Harden players in a home game? Maybe this is just an awful matchup when the playoff version of the Warriors takes the court? There’s too much uncertainty about what Houston’s really going to be in this series for me to back the Rockets in what would typically be a “must-win” between evenly matched teams. Pass.

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Pictured: Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Rockets guard James Harden. Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports