Photo credit: nba.com/warriors
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry, in particular, had it all going for them Sunday night at home as they beat the Houston Rockets 126-85 at Oracle Arena Sunday.
The 41-point margin of victory was the largest in NBA playoff history. The Warriors, who were routed by Houston last Wednesday, looked like an entirely different team as they played exceptionally well on defense. Curry and Kevin Durant paced them on offense. Curry did not look like himself in the first two games of the series. He had missed several weeks of action due to ankle and knee injuries and was slow to return to form. Curry showed the fans at Oracle and all those watching on television knew that he was back. He got off to a slow start in the first half of the game, but got it going in the third quarter. He scored 18 points and was 7-for-7 from the floor as the Warrior blew open the game.
The Rockets came into town having won the second game of the series by routing Golden State in Houston. They appeared to have found the recipe for beating the Warriors and were eager to pull an upset by winning Game 3. The Warriors could not stop James Harden. Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and P.J.Tucker had it all working for them in Game 2.
The Warriors had to figure out a way to stop the vaunted Houston offense and their 3-point excellence. They did it. The Rockets and Warriors both got off to slow starts. The Rockets led 22-21 when the Warriors went on an 11-0 run at the end of the first quarter to complete the first 12 minutes of play with a nine-point lead 31-22. The second quarter was also pretty even. The Warriors won the quarter 23-21 and finished the first half leading 54-43.
Curry and Durant each scored five points each to give the Warriors a 21-point advantage. The Warriors again owned the third quarter, and Curry was the ringleader with 18 points and three 3-pointers. The Warriors finished the quarter, leading 88-67.
The Warriors refused to let the Rockets get back in the game. The defense continued to force Houston turnovers as they continued to increase the lead. Steve Kerr rested the starters with less than five minutes to play and the bench, led by Quinn Cook’s 11 points, increased the lead to 41. The Warriors win 126-85.
Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors made NBA history as they won their 16th consecutive home playoff win to break the mark of 15 that was set by the Chicago Bulls. The Rockets have played 295 playoff games and it was their worst loss ever. Steph Curry made 11-of-13 shots in the second half and ended the night with 35 points, six rebounds, and five 3-point shots. Kevin Durant added 25 points to go along with six rebounds, and six assists. Draymond Green knocked down 10 and was a monster on the boards as he pulled down 17 rebounds. Klay Thompson had 13, and Andre Iguodala added 10. All five starters were in double figures.
James Harden led the Rockets with 20. Chris Paul and Clint Capela had 13 each. Eric Gordon was the only other Rocket in double figures with 11.
The Warriors shot 52.25% from the floor and held the Rockets to 39.5%. The Rockets made 11 3-pointers. However, the Dubs made 13. On defense, the Warriors made 11 steals and blocked seven shots, and they forced Houston to commit 19 turnovers. The Warriors committed just eight.
The Warriors and the fans observed a moment of silence for the victims of the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The Warriors introduced Run TMC to the crowd during a timeout in the first period. On hand were Chris Mullen, Mitch Richmond, and Tim Hardaway. The trio received a standing ovation from the fans. Hardaway is being installed in the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Monday night. Mullen and Richmond were inducted earlier.