By Jerry Feitelberg
San Francisco- The Warriors resumed play Thursday night against the visiting Houston Rockets. The Rockets, playing with a smaller lineup since the trade of Clint Capela, raced up and down the court. Their defense smothered the W’s in the first quarter. The Rockets connected on threes all night long. The Rockets, having been eliminated in the playoffs several times by the Warriors, had to enjoy pummeling the young W’s.
The Warriors only came early in the first period. They were leading 4-3 when Houston went on a 17-3 run. The Rockets continued to pour it on and finished the first quarter 38-17. The game was over for all intents and purposes at that point.
The Warriors offense picked up in the second quarter. The Rockets won the period 34-33 and finished the first half with a 22-point advantage. The Rockets made 15 threes in 26 tries. The Warriors made just one. James Harden had 16, Russell Westbrook 17 to pace the Rockets’ attack. P.J.Tucker finished the half with 15. He made five threes. Andrew Wiggins led the W’s with 10. Marquese Chriss had 8.
The third quarter belonged to Houston. Harden, Westbrook, and Robert Covington made it look easy as they outscored the W’s 37-27 to finish the third quarter leading by thirty-two 109-77.
Houston removed the starters about halfway through the fourth quarter. With 6:04 left to play, Russell Westbrook was called for a foul as he shoved Damion Lee to the floor. Westbrook, who had a technical foul called on him earlier in the game, lost his cool and had to be restrained by several members of the Houston staff. Westbrook was ejected from the game. He leads the league with 13 technicals. Draymond Green is second with 12. Play resumed, but the W’s could do nothing as they lost by a final score of 135-105
Game Notes and Stats- Looking at the stat sheet, it doesn’t seem that the W’s didn’t play that poorly. They were 44 for 91 (48.4%) from the floor. The Rockets were 45 for 87 from the floor. The reason for the huge loss was the fact that the Rockets made 25 threes. The Warriors made 7.
The Warriors had four starters in double figures. Andrew Wiggins finished with 22. Jordan Poole 19, Damion Lee 13, Marquese Chriss 10. Eric Paschall and Juan Toscano-Anderson, both coming off the bench, knocked 13 and 10.
James Harden paced the Rockets with 29. Westbrook had 21, Robert Covington 20, Jeff Green 17, P.J.Tucker 15, and Danuel House 11.
The Warriors are now 12-44 for the year. Houston improved to 35-20.
The Warriors host the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. The Pelicans’ big rookie Zion Williamson will be making his first appearance in San Francisco. The game will start at 5:30 pm at the Chase Center.