Warriors’ Hamptons 5 vs. Rockets’ Tuckwagon
As the Warriors and Rockets head to Oakland:
⏩ Make way for the Tuckwagon, everybody. The Rockets are feeling so good about their Game 2 win, they’re issuing a challenge to the Warriors’ fearsome small-ball lineup known as the Hamptons 5. They actually feel they have something better.
The key is forward P.J. Tucker, who replaces center Clint Capela in the Rockets’ alignment. “We feel like we’re the best at that, when we go small,” Tucker told USA Today after pouring in 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting Wednesday. “We feel like nobody can do what we do. You want to go small? All right, we’ll go small, too. And like I said, our small lineup is the best in the league.”
The players like to call it the “Tuckwagon,” and it’s interesting to note: When the Rockets failed to sign Andre Iguodala during his free-agency window last summer, they turned to Tucker, who signed a four-year, $32 million deal. Tucker won’t be so hot every night, but his defense is a constant, and don’t leave him alone in the corners. That’s his favorite place to shoot.
⏩ You’ve never seen such a look of contentment. As a TNT camera zeroed in on Stephen Curry, sitting on the Warriors’ bench near the end of Thursday night’s game, he wore more than a smile. He looked like a man absolutely assured of a glorious — wait, heavenly — future.
Well, there’s no time to waste. Curry has hit just two three-point shots in the series, and he hasn’t gone that cold in consecutive games since February 2017 (0-for-11 at Philadelphia, then 2-for-9 at Washington). There are no signs that he is significantly hurt; he’s moving freely about the court and even led the Warriors in Game 2 rebounds (eight). But his defensive vulnerability — true at all times when teams relentlessly attack him — has become too much of a story. Whatever success he’s had driving the lane, he needs to light up Oracle Arena from long distance Sunday. That’s when he’s The Demoralizer.
⏩ Where’s Ros? The Warriors hated to lose Ros Gold-Onwude, the talented sideline announcer, to TNT this season. But the network has chosen Kristen Ledlow to work this series in that role. “They love Ros,” said a source familiar with the situation. “But she’s not on the A-team yet.”