The Warriors should’ve won Game 3, but only because Mo Speights and Ian Clark played extremely well. The same could not be said for the *regular starters.
Of the Warriors’ 14 turnovers, half were committed by Draymond Green. He was off in every way, including defensively. Steve Kerr called a play, with 2.7 seconds remaining and the Warriors down one, where Green would receive the ball about 30 feet away from the basket. The play was a pindown screen for Speights, who was unconscious all night, but the ball bounced off Green’s foot and rolled out of bounds before we had a chance to see if it would work.
“I cost us the game,” Green said after the Rockets won 97-96 in Game 3. “The world will think I’m talking about that last turnover, and I’m not. I turned the ball over. That happens. But I was awful. The whole game. I don’t really … I care about that turnover, but I don’t care to the point where I feel like that turnover cost us. I cost us the whole game, throughout the game.”
- Draymond Green (37:16): 3-for-9 FG, 3-for-6 FT, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 turnovers, 9 points
- Klay Thompson (40:14): 7-for-20 FG, 3-for-5 FT, 0-for-7 3pt, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 17 points
- Harrison Barnes (23:38): 3-for-7 FG, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 9 points
- Andrew Bogut (14:38): 1-for-2, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 fouls, 2 points
* Shaun Livingston isn’t a regular starter, and he played well — 16/5/3, 6-for-13, 1 TO
Kerr didn’t run the final play for Thompson. And who could blame him after Thompson missed two shots in the final minute, including an ill-advised 30-footer? If it wasn’t for Clark’s good hands, which allowed him to catch a hard Livingston “pass” (it was a deflection from James Harden) and make a layup to give the Warriors the lead, the Rockets wouldn’t have needed Harden’s game-winner.
Yes, Harden pushed off. No, the Warriors can’t complain. If they would’ve trapped Harden, they probably would’ve gotten away with some physical defense. Instead, Harden got away with a shove and ended up all alone. Just like Green’s final turnover, these kinds of things happen.
Charles Barkley told the TNT audience that the Rockets showed “fake hustle” in the first quarter, the quarter that gave Houston a big lead that the Rockets almost squandered as the game went on. Barkley might have been attempting to jinx the Warriors by guaranteeing that the Rockets would lose by 10, but he had a point. The Rockets really did try to lose this game, and a few of Harden’s teammates looked like they wished his shot would’ve rimmed out at the end.
Terrence Jones, Corey Brewer and Dwight Howard all look like they booked flights to tropical locations on Monday pic.twitter.com/RPgXkclYB7
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) April 22, 2016
— We’ve had our fun at the Rockets’ expense, but the Warriors have their own problems. Like … Steph Curry’s
ankle foot lower leg injury. Not many expected him to play in Game 3, but now everyone expects him to play in Game 4. If he doesn’t, what does that mean? Does it mean his injury is serious enough to torpedo the Warriors’ championship hopes? Or, will he feel healthy enough to play in Game 5, or 6 (if necessary)?
— My guess: He’s probably going to play, and if the Warriors respected the Rockets at all, he would’ve played in Game 3.
— Festus Ezeli has been awful in this series. It can’t be easy for someone who’s only been playing the sport for like five years to miss all that time and be expected to play elite playoff defense a few weeks after returning from knee surgery.
— Andre Iguodala made some good plays, but he also allowed Harden to turn him around a couple of times. Iguodala, who spent hours studying LeBron James and thinking of ways to stop him during the finals, will probably keep that from happening in Games 4 and 5.
— It wasn’t a good sign for Barnes that he couldn’t getting crunchtime minutes without Curry available. He couldn’t stop Michael Beasley, either.
— Imagine the amount of love Steve Kerr would’ve received for giving Clark all of those minutes if Harden missed his last shot. Despite the missed opportunities in this game, it’s still pretty amazing that Golden State came so close to winning a road playoff game against a supposedly desperate team with their best players either unavailable or playing poorly.