Rock­ets level se­ries with War­riors

Bench steps up for Hous­ton as Rock­ets deal War­riors worst loss this post­sea­son

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - —AFP

HOUS­TON— The Rock­ets came out hard on Wed­nes­day and scored a phys­i­cal 127-105 vic­tory over Golden State that tied their NBA West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals se­ries at 1-1. Eric Gor­don hit 6-of-9 triples and shared scor­ing hon­ors with MVP can­di­date James Harden with 27 points. Kevin Du­rant led the er­ror-prone de­fend­ing cham­pion War­riors with 38 points. Golden State had 15 turnovers—11 of them in the first half.

HOUS­TON— The Hous­ton Rock­ets ramped up the in­ten­sity on Wed­nes­day, pow­er­ing past the NBA cham­pion Golden State War­riors, 127-105, to level their West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals se­ries at one game apiece. Hous­ton’s Most Valu­able Player can­di­date James Harden scored 27 points and pulled down 10 re­bounds. Eric Gor­don added 27 off the bench as five play­ers scored in dou­ble fig­ures for a Rock­ets team chas­tened by a 119-106 se­riesopen­ing de­feat on their home floor on Mon­day. “To­tal team ef­fort,” Harden said. “We played harder and smarter than Game 1. That was the only dif­fer­ence.”

The Rock­ets sig­naled their in­ten­tions early. Their seven fast break points in the open­ing quar­ter more than dou­bled the three they mus­tered in all of the se­ries opener.

Hous­ton con­nected on 3-of10 from three-point range in the first pe­riod while the War­riors were 0-for-7 and coughed up seven turnovers.

Up 26-21 after one quar­ter, the Rock­ets wouldn’t trail from there.

They led 64-50 by half­time, with four play­ers al­ready in dou­ble fig­ures as they stepped up the pace and tight­ened the de­fen­sive screws.

“Ev­ery­thing was fu­eled off our de­fense,” Gor­don said. “We hit the open man at the right time and guys were knock­ing down shots and when we play that way it’s just a fun game.”

Rock­ets coach Mike D’An­toni said there was no ma­jor change in strat­egy—just more in­ten­sity and better ex­e­cu­tion from a Hous­ton team that led the league with 65 reg­u­lar-sea­son wins.

“I don’t want to be can­tan­ker­ous,” D’An­toni said. “You have one of the best of­fenses of all time, at least, with Golden State and we’re try­ing to prove we’re up there with them. You’re not go­ing to come in and change the way you play.

“We are who we are. We just did it better and longer.” War­riors coach Steve Kerr said the Rock­ets’ en­ergy made all the dif­fer­ence.

“I just think this game was a mat­ter of the Rock­ets bring­ing the force that’s necessary to win a game and we didn’t,” Kerr said.

“We­had seven turnovers in the first quar­ter. We set the tone early with our own play and al­lowed them to get some con­fi­dence and some easy buck­ets in tran­si­tion.”

“But give them the credit they came out and played a great game. They got every­body go­ing.”

“We got what we de­served. They kicked our butts, no other way to say it,” he added.

Kevin Du­rant led the War­riors with 38 points, but Stephen Curry was the only other Golden State player in dou­ble fig­ures with 16.

Klay Thomp­son scored just eight points, Dray­mond Green six and An­dre Iguo­dala five.

Curry con­nected on seven of 19 shots from the floor, mak­ing just 1of-8 three-point at­tempts in what he called a “frus­trat­ing night.”

Over­all, the War­riors were just nine of 30 from three-point range.

They fin­ished the game with 15 turnovers—11 of those com­ing be­fore half­time, by then most of the dam­age was done.

We­got what we de­served. They kicked our butts, no other way to say it STEVE KERR Golden State War­riors coach

—USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Clint Capela (15), Trevor Ariza and the rest of the Rock­ets were all over the War­riors and Kevin Du­rant in Game 2. MVPsCleve­land’s LeBron James is chas­ing after he was named can­di­date to­gether with Hous­ton’s James Harden andNewOr­leans’ An­thony Davis

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