Why The Warriors Really Matter

↵The Rockets had to get to their game at Oracle Arena last night by boat. It figures that, if a team comes to town to play those endlessly upside-down Warriors, they couldn't just waltz in the door and do their best. No, this is a rite of passage, a trip to the dark side that, while it may have nothing to do with the standings, sends opponents into the very depths of basketball oddity. Where men lose their minds and teams find themselves.
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↵Okay, that's an exaggeration. But given how unpredictable, even surreal, the Warriors can be, as well as their ability to push scores through the roof while raising the intensity level, these games do matter. For a team like the Rockets, who are trying to figure out just what their look is going to be, it's trial by fire, in a mind-bending way that playing conservative against playoff teams never could be.
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↵What did the Rockets show us last night in that 108-107 win? That Ariza, if turned totally loose, might be even better with the ball and more versatile in his outside shooting than previously thought. Maybe it's just the number on his jersey, and granted, Oakland inflates stats like nothing this side of MSG, but there was something McGrady-esque about him last night in a raw, transition from role player to star (Toronto to Orlando) way.
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↵Scola was held in check until he broke out his full arsenal of around-the-basket dips and dives, making him virtually unguardable by the monstrous, but green, Anthony Randolph. And Aaron Brooks, who may have to live with being viewed forever as a mirage, had a double/double and looked like the leader of the team.
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↵Read the rest of this entry >> ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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