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Houston! Golden State! This is what a modern rivalry looks like, right? Paul Flannery provides running commentary of the proceedings.
So, here's the backstory. Last week the Rockets dropped 23 threes on the Warriors, tying the record before Golden State coach Mark Jackson decided to foul everyone in the state of Texas as Houston started gunning for a new record. Jackson's move was a little self-serving -- stop them if you don't like it -- but once a game stops being a competition and turns into a circus then all bets are off.
All of which made this the most heavily-anticipated Warriors-Rockets game since the days of Sleepy Floyd and Mitchell Wiggins. So I proposed a running diary thing to Ziller and here we are. It is at this moment that I am totally regretting not getting a DVR, but whatever.
Yes, Fitz! If I'm going to get one-sided play-by-play I'd like to be in the soothing dulcet tones of Bob Fitzgerald. Don't judge. We all have our weird League Pass things and I love me some Fitz.
Two minutes in, no extra-curriculars and just five points. I was told there would be retribution. If this were hockey they would have dropped the gloves on the opening tip. I'll just direct you to this classic Bomani Jones video and leave it there.
Drive. Whistle. Free throws. Drive. Whistle. Free throws. Nine free throws in the first 3 and a half minutes. Hey refs, let's take the two most free-flowing teams in the league and call everything. Good deal.
Klay Thompson glides by Omer Asik, who does nothing to stop him. If this were the '90s, Asik would have maimed Thompson. Honestly, I'm glad it's not the '90s anymore but a little resistance there would have been appropriate in any context.
Not going to lie. I thought about doing a Troll Tuesday about how soft the game has become, but we all have to play to our strengths. Free column idea for Andrew Sharp, though.
Harrison Barnes dunks. I like Barnes a lot. I think he's going to be really good, but I wonder if he's going to just hover between good and really good and kind of be a perpetual tease throughout his career. Thus concludes every thought about Harrison Barnes as a basketball player.
Golden State's up 21-12, but then Harden drains a three and gets to the free throw line to make it 21-17. This is why Harden is worth max money. There are very few guys in the league who can size up a situation and decide to go score when everyone in the arena is expecting you to go score.
Jarrett Jack checks in. Have I mentioned how much I love Jarrett Jack? He's the first-half winner of the PFlanns League Pass Favorite Player Award, which is worth absolutely nothing.
Passive-aggressive foul by Chandler Parsons lets Thompson get a three-point play. Come on, man. You can't talk shit and then let that weak stuff happen.
First quarter numbers: Both teams combined for 64 points on 48 shots. Good god, if LeBron had 48 shots in a quarter he'd score like 240 points.
Morris backed down Barnes who took an elbow and went down like he was shot. Of course he got the call. Here's my soap box thing. We've got to get the notion of taking a charge as a standard method of playing defense out of the game. It disrupts the flow, is potentially dangerous for everyone involved and completely defeats the purpose of aggressive offense, which most people pay good money to watch. No one ever said, "I can't wait to watch J.J. Barea fall down."
Somewhere along the way it was decided that taking charges equaled great defense and that feels all wrong. Kevin Garnett, for example, never takes charges. KG's game is positioning and angles and all kinds of small, subtle things that get lost in his manic craziness. Taking a charge used to be a sign of toughness, now it's derided as a flop.
Back to the game. Jarrett Jack buries a three and then hulks up at center court. I freaking love Jarrett Jack.
Fitz and Ric Bucher are debating whether the Rockets could make 23 of 40 open threes in an empty gym. Um, yes?
Stephen Curry's got this mean little floater when he drives down the side of the lane. I'd be curious to see some metrics on this shot, but I like it.
The difference between Andrew Bogut protecting the rim and David Lee protecting the rim is as long as the Golden Gate Bridge. Topical!
Sometimes I watch the Warriors and wonder why they don't run pindowns for Steph Curry every time down the court.
At the half, the Rockets lead 57-56 and so far this is just like every other game. During the break I'm going to question what I've done with my life.
Steph Curry picked up his fourth foul to start the third quarter. Jax is leaving him in, which is the right call. Curry only commits 2.3 fouls per 36 minutes so there's no reason to panic and Jackson takes him off Lin and puts him on Parsons who usually hangs out behind the arc. That's just smart all the way around.
Hahaha. Parsons passed up an open three to throw a bullet pass off Asik's stomach. David Lee one-ups him by passing up a jumper to throw a pass off Andrew Bogut. There's such a thing as being too unselfish. Shoot the ball, fellas.
Hmm, Harden and Curry are going shot for shot. More of this, please.
Dammit. Harden stepped on Lee's foot. He stays in to shoot the free throws but he can barely hobble off the court.
Fitz is jumping to conclusions that Curry could replace Harden in the All-Star Game. Something about ankles and karma is probably appropriate here.
Harden's back in the game and the Curry All-Star dream ends as quickly as it began.
I was rough on Parsons earlier but he's balling right now. Hitting big on a second-round pick like Parsons is like winning the lottery.
The Rockets have missed 18 of 24 threes, Twitter tells me that Kobe is melting down, but I'm hanging tough here. Man, this is sloppy though. Houston's up 11, the Warriors are throwing passes all over the place and their spacing is all messed up without Curry in the game.
Glad that's over. Houston's up 88-79 and Parsons has 11 of his 19 points in the quarter. The Rockets are running. The Warriors look gassed.
Carlos Delfino X-factor three. Drink!
Hilarious Benny Hill sequence that starts with Asik falling down is followed by a bevy of turnovers and more bodies on the ground, and ends with Curry draining a three to make it 91-86. Maybe we've got a game?
Maybe not as Asik dunks to make it 95-86. Maybe we do, as Jack knocks down a three. Every time that dude makes a shot it's like he just discovered electricity.
Morris just yammed on David Lee who is to defense what Asik is to aesthetics.
Lee gets revenge the only way he knows how, by scoring on Morris at the other end. That's how they settle things out West, you see.
Dayum, Morris did it again, but this time it was on Bogut. Nasty.
Seriously, does Delfino makes threes that aren't by definition killers? That one makes it 104-93 and it's slowly slipping away.
This is like that last pickup game at the Y where both teams make a pact to not play any defense.
Pretty give-and-go from Lee to Curry makes it 107-99. Maybe? Eh, Thompson missed a three, Curry missed a wide-open jumper and Parsons goes baseline for the dunk. At this point it seems pretty clear that Bogut is not fully healthy.
Jackson mercifully puts in Draymond Green, who gets an offensive board and a stop on Parsons. But now Golden State can't score.
Say good night. Harden drains a three to make it 114-101. He's got 27 points on 22 shots, which is not the most efficient night but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and Harden made a ton of big plays in crucial moments.
David Lee decides to foul out 80 feet from the basket, which is just strange.
Rockets win 116-107. Parsons backs it up with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists and Asik controlled the paint. Houston's won 8 of 12 since losing seven in a row and the Warriors are officially in free fall having lost five straight.
We'll let Bogut have the last word via the great Marcus Thompson:
"We're not there yet. We're not where we think we are. I think we thought we were a little bit better than what we are."