Warriors vs. Rockets: Game 3 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2015

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The Golden State Warriors are just one game away from the NBA Finals after routing the Houston Rockets, 115-80, Saturday night in the Toyota Center to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

As Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group posited, home-court advantage looks less and less like a factor in the postseason:

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Home court advantage isn't what it used to be.

This may also be the last time any home team allows Scott Foster to be the crew chief in a postseason game, per NBA Ref Stats; he has been the kiss of death lately:

NBA Ref Stats @NBARefStats

Scott Foster is the crew chief for #Warriors/#Rockets G3 of #WCF. Home teams have lost the last 9 playoff games officiated by Foster.

Some have argued that the West's top seed has underwhelmed in the conference finals so far. You would've been forgiven if you thought the Warriors were down 0-2 instead of up 2-0 after hearing Draymond Green's comments after Game 2.

"We haven't played well at all," he said, per CSNBayArea.com's Monte Poole. "We haven't put it together yet."

Game 3 showed what Green was talking about as Golden State played one of its best games of the postseason and exerted complete control on both ends of the floor. This was a different team than the one from Games 1 and 2.

Stephen Curry was 12-of-19 from the floor, including 7-of-9 from deep, for 40 points, adding seven assists and five rebounds. He joined elite company with that stat line, per ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan (May 31, 1993 vs NYK) are only players in conf finals history to make 5 3s, score 40 pts, shoot 55% from field

Curry also broke the postseason record for most made threes in a single playoffs, per NBA on ESPN:


Reggie Miller had the record in 22 games. It took Steph Curry 13 games to break it. http://t.co/NMkGDTWZlE

He's also the first Warriors player to score 40-plus points in a conference finals game since Rick Barry in 1976, according to NBA on ESPN.

Green and Klay Thompson added 17 points apiece.

Dwight Howard posted a double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds) in a losing effort. He was one of the few stars on Houston's roster to show up. With that said, getting beaten on the boards by Curry wasn't one of Howard's best moments.

James Harden struggled mightily all night. He scored 17 points on 3-of-16 shooting.

The first half was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for the Rockets. They scored 37 points on just 12-of-41 shooting. Howard accounted for five of those made field goals. Houston's bench contributed just two points, with Terrence Jones, Pablo Prigioni and Corey Brewer going a combined 0-of-9 from the field.

The most telling stat was the disparity between Harden and Curry's respective performances through two quarters, per Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver:

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Warriors 62, Rockets 37 at halftime. Stephen Curry: 18 points on 7 shots, +23. James Harden: 8 points on 8 shots, -25.

ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how the Warriors succeeded in pushing Harden farther and farther away from the basket:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

James Harden: 1-for-8 FG in first half Harden avg shot distance: Game 1: 13 feet Game 2: 14 feet Game 3: 19 feet

Golden State wasn't exactly lights-out in the first half—Thompson and Green were a combined 7-of-20 from the field—but looked fantastic in comparison to the Rockets. Curry was dictating the pace of the game, and Andrew Bogut's 12 points added a post threat to the Warriors offense.

As dire as things looked for Houston, though, it was way too premature to start waving the white towel. Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group alluded to the Rockets' improbable fourth-quarter comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 of the conference semifinals:

Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe

Rockets have been in this spot before … this game isn’t over

The difference between the Clippers and the Warriors is the Warriors never took their foot off the gas and assumed the victory was only a matter of time.

The Toyota Center crowd started to get back into the game after Houston trimmed the deficit to 18 points, 68-50, following a Harden three-pointer. But Golden State closed the third quarter on a 24-11 run to build a 31-point lead.

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix wondered if the Rockets players were mentally exhausted after fighting so hard in the first two games of the series but ultimately coming up short:

Chris Mannix @ChrisMannixYS

You just feel like Golden State broke Houston's will after pulling out the first two wins at home. Rockets have had nothing tonight. Nothing

The game was essentially over after three quarters, with the fourth a mere formality. The time for Houston to make its comeback was in the third, and it instead wound up down more points than when it came out of the locker room after halftime.

The Harden criticism will only grow louder after this game. The All-Star shooting guard was already hearing it from skeptics after the final seconds of Game 2, so the fact that he was a complete non-factor Saturday night will do nothing to curb his detractors.

An early exit for Houston will also lead to more discussions about whether Houston needs a change in leadership and/or if Harden and Howard can lead the Rockets to the promised land as the team is currently constructed. Kevin McHale's seat grows hotter by the day, while the team's lack of depth is getting exposed in a big way.

On the other side, the Warriors continue to distance themselves as the best team in the league. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks don't look to be close to Golden State's level, especially with both teams having key players out injured. The NBA Finals is the Warriors' to lose.

The Rockets will attempt to extend the series Monday night, but they appear to be on borrowed time, with their exit from the postseason an inevitability rather than a possibility.


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