The reality is somewhere in between.
The Warriors got off to another slow-ish start, but led 16-13 when Gordon went bananas, scoring eight points in 2:03, and the Rockets never trailed again. Golden State was a step slow on its defensive rotations – the type of step where there’s just no urgency because they got Game 1 on the road. They were just a shade sloppier with the ball; again, the lack or urgency. This was a problem that plagued them in the regular season, and hopefully they’ll snap out of it in Games 3 and 4.
I thought the Warriors would have the “we don’t want to come back to Houston” mentality, but the Rockets role players made them pay by making three-pointers in a season-on-the-line game.
According to TNT, Ariza (19 points), Tucker (22 points) and Gordon (27 points) all had playoff career-highs. The next-level question: Harden did less dribbling and driving because the role players were making their shots. If those first few shots don’t go down in Game 3, will Harden trust them enough to keep passing?