The Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (30) is jubilant after scoring a three point shot against the Houston Rockets Armoni Brooks (7) during Sat May 1, 2021 game in Houston (Houston Chronicle photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors (32-32) faced the downtrodden Houston Rockets (16-48) at the Toyota Center in Houston Saturday night. The Rockets, without their star John Wall, beat the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday night behind Kevin Porter’s outstanding performance. Porter, who is 20-years-old knocked down 50 points, leading Houston to victory. The Rockets’ management discharged their head coach, Muke D’Antoni, at the end of last season. The Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to the Washinton Wizards, and James Harden went to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Rockets have struggled all season long, and it appears they will be one of the three teams with the worst record in the NBA. Having lost two in a row, the Warriors needed to take advantage of the Rockets to stay in the race for a ninth or tenth spot in the Western Conference standings. Things didn’t go well in the first half of the game. The Rockets found a way to contain Stephen Curry. The Warriors got their act together in the third quarter and were able to win easily 113-87.
The Warriors’ offense in the first two quarters left a lot to the imagination. Curry made two threes in ten tries. The Rockets held him to seven points. The Rockets finished the first quarter with a two-point lead 24-22. The Rockets went on a 9-3 run to start the second quarter to lead 33-25. Curry returned with about six minutes left in the period. Houston kept answering every Warrior basket. The Rockets led at halftime 55-49.
The third quarter was a different story. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr must have read the riot act to his team during the halftime break. They did not play well against the Dallas Mavericks, and they folded against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter Thursday night.
They could not afford to lose to Houston. Kerr’s words must have resonated with the Warriors as they came out smoking to start the third quarter. Golden State went on a 28-4 run to start play in the period. At one point, they scored 24 unanswered points. Curry was on fire. He scored 23 points in his 12 minutes on the floor. He connected on five threes in seven tries. The Warriors outscored the Rockets 39-12 in the quarter to lead 87-67.
The Warriors had Curry and Draymond Green on the bench for the entire fourth quarter. Andrew Wiggins, Mychal Mulder, and Jordan Poole provided the offense as the Warriors cruised to victory 113-87
Game Notes and Stats: With the win, the Warriors are 32-32 for the year. They have two more road games left for the year. They will play both against the New Orleans Pelicans. They lead the Pelicans by 3 1/2 games for the final playoff spot. The first game with New Orleans will be Monday night. The Warriors play the last six games of the season at the Chase Center.
The Warriors used eight players again for the second game in a row. Kelly Oubre, Jr. was out with a wrist problem. Damion Lee is still on Covid-19 protocol, and Eric Paschall missed another game due to a hip flexor. Paschall is improving and will be back soon, possibly next week.
Curry had another 30-point game. He had 30 points, six rebounds, and five assists. He was nine-for-23 from the floor and 7-fo-17 from downtown. Andrew Wiggins continued his excellent play on both ends of the court. Wiggins poured in 20 points.
He pulled down two rebounds and had two assists. Mychal Mulder and Jordan Poole each had 17 points. Mulder connected on five threes. Draymond Green nearly had a triple-double. Green scored nine points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and recorded eight assists.
As a team, the Warriors shot 46% from the floor. They made 18 threes in 46 attempts. They moved the ball well, especially in the second half, with 32 assists on 39 made field goals. They had ten steals and eight blocks on defense. They forced 18 Rockets turnover that resulted in 20 points for the Warriors.
The Warriors meet the Pelicans in New Orleans Monday Night. The game will start at 4:30 pm.