HOUSTON – It feels like a million years ago – especially given the fact that the Golden State Warriors on Monday night won their first win against the Houston Rockets in the first game of this Western Conference a point late in the regular season, when the Warriors were seriously worried that this group could not find their groove when the time came.
"Yes," said general manager Bob Myers ESPN after the game on Monday. My first thought was, yes, but my second thought was, "Have you let us down already?" "
Myers said that he and his head coach Steve Kerr are talking about the deadlock of Golden State spoke to the regular season when they lost 10 of their last 1
That was a month ago. Since then, the Warriors have recorded a level of Kerr compared to their first championship season in 2015. The regular season was what they had told us that it was all the time – a prelude to the only part of the season that really is It's about a team trying to rise to their fourth NBA finals in a row.
Why should you play so hard for home advantage in the regular season if you can get it back in 48 minutes like the Warriors on Monday?
It's the best time of the year. If we play for all marbles, we try to win a championship, there is no reason not to invade, "said Warriors All-Star Draymond Green to ESPN." The further you get along, the better it gets. "
And How does that compare to the regular season?
"I felt like an eternity," Green said with a grin. "An eternity."
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The best for this group, Green said, might have been to start on the road with the challenge of regaining home-advantage and reasserting their superiority over a Houston team doing them in the regular season and no doubt that he was concentrating on winning the four home games for this series.
"I think you need different challenges in life," said Green. "You always get the same, you take it for granted, it's a very different feeling for us."
This focus was evident throughout the playoffs as the Warriors defended all the teams in defensive positions and were linked to the Rockets and Toronto Raptors for the best offensive rating among the playoff teams.
On Monday morning, the Golden State coaches gave players the choice of whether to host a shoot-out or not. After almost a week between the end of the last series and the start of the conference finale, there was not much to beat. But the players unanimously voted to launch a shootout.
"I think they are really excited right now," Myers said. "They have a lot of respect for Houston, we're on the road so it's normal for them to play like that."
There are many reasons why Golden State has won Game 1:
The Warriors forced the Rockets into three round-the-clock injuries and 19 shots with just five in the shot-time.
A devastating third-quarter pressure brought on by the so-called "Hamptons 5" of Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, who drew in a draw at 13-point at half-time.
The Hamptons 5 lineup surpassed Houston 22-14 on 9-for-11 shooting from the field with six assists and only sales in seven third quarters of minutes.
|3-pt FG pct  33%||22%|
|GS Starter: S. Cur K. Thompson, A. Iguodala, K. Durant , D. Green|
|HOU starters: C. Paul, J. Harden, T. Ariza, P. Tucker, C. Capela|
But above all, the Warriors have won because they imposed style and pace on their game, forcing Houston into an endless stream of isolation and one-to-one games.
The Rockets don & # 39; Always remember how coach Mike D & # 39; Antoni often says he thinks James Harden is the best single player in the league. And on Monday night, the presumed MVP in this role was again brilliant and scored 41 points in 14:24 shooting.
But that's not the kind of offense that D & # 39; Antoni made with basketball in his time with the Phoenix Suns. No, these suns shared the ball like today's warriors.
What you saw on Monday night by D & # 39; Antonis Rockets was basketball at a distance. According to Second Spectrum, Houston had 45 isolation games in Game 1. That's the maximum of any team in any game – regular season or playoffs – in the last five seasons and more than double that in the regular season (22 (19659002) Harden accounted for 26 of the isolation plays, almost nine more than he does in
Some of this, of course, is the Golden State defense, which has forced a way for teams to go into their worst tendencies, and the Rockets are so talented in the one-on-one game that it's easy for them is to rely on when the offensive breaks down under endless shifts, as the Warriors did in Game 1. But deep inside, D & # 39; Antoni has to know that his team is not a seven-game series against the Warriors who play so much single ball.
"I'll talk to him, he needs about 55 [points] the next time" D & # 39; Antoni joked sarcastically about Harden after Monday night, "I have to tell him that just say. "
So that Houst On returning to this series, Harden has to be as good as in Game 1 and find ways to increase his teammates. Outside Harden and Chris Paul (who scored 64 points in 54 percent shooting), the rest of the team had only 42 points to 39 percent.
"We're all there together," Harden said. "It does not matter who has a bad game or who has no shots … shoot on and be aggressive so far we've done that and we have that attitude so we'll just keep it up."