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Rockets vs. Warriors: Game 1 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 NBA Playoffs

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 16, 2016

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after scoring against the Houston Rockets during the first half in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Associated Press

If the Golden State Warriors were feeling any added pressure to validate their 73-win season in the playoffs, it didn't show against the Houston Rockets in a 104-78 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Having won 11 of their last 12 games against the Rockets before Saturday, the Warriors knew exactly what they were going up against. Stephen Curry had 24 points in the first half, just nine fewer than Houston's team total.

Draymond Green finished with a double-double, recording 12 points and 10 rebounds. Klay Thompson didn't have a great shooting day, going just 4-of-14 with 16 points. Marreese Speights was terrific off the bench for Golden State, scoring 12 points for the second consecutive game. 

Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group noted that Speights was just as excited as anyone else about his performance in this game:

Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe

Speights hopped down court hyped ... flexing ... then telling the crowd to get up ... then popping his jersey. That was an emotional tip in

Since this year's Warriors have been compared to the 1995-96 Bulls for logical reasons, ESPN Stats & Info took a micro view of that "rivalry" by pitting Curry's first-half stats against Michael Jordan's entire playoff career:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Stephen Curry: 24 pts, 5-7 3-ptrs, 6 reb in 1st half. Michael Jordan had one career playoff GAME in which he had 24+ pts, 5 3-ptrs, 6 reb

Here's what Curry looked like in the first quarter, picking apart Houston's defense:

Things did get testy between Curry and Houston's Patrick Beverley in the first quarter, as both were assessed technical fouls after a scuffle. 

As the Bay Area Sports Guy noted, Beverley's antics didn't seem to rattle Curry:

Bay Area Sports Guy @BASportsGuy

Beverley really sent Curry into a tailspin ... he only went 4-for-6 and scored 13 points in the next 6:31 after the double-technical.

Rodger Sherman of SB Nation pointed out that Beverley, in that early moment, had a lot in common with the cyber world:

Curry was limping on the court late in the first half and went back to the locker room. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area noted the ankle was retaped. He played briefly at the start of the second half before sitting for the rest of the game.

Not that the Warriors needed Curry by that point, as they held a 60-33 advantage at intermission. Shea Serrano noted Curry's presence on the court probably won't even be necessary again for quite a long time:

Shea Serrano @SheaSerrano

steph curry really doesn't even have to get off the bench until like the third or fourth game of the next round if we're being real

Humorous as that may be, it's also probably accurate. The Warriors are a great team, and the Rockets seemed to lose any interest in the game after they fell behind. 

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle was particularly critical of James Harden's effort, or lack thereof, in the first half:

Ron Kroichick @ronkroichick

Not that it really matters at this point, but that's four fouls on Harden. He doesn't seem especially interested in being here. #Warriors

Harden, who struggled in Game 5 of last year's Western Conference Finals against Golden State with 14 points on 2-of-11 shooting, once again was inefficient on his way to scoring a team-high 17 points.

The Beard was so out of sorts that he didn't even attempt a free throw in a playoff game for the first time in his career, which ESPN Stats & Info pointed out doesn't happen often for Harden in the regular season, either: 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

James Harden: 0 FTA. He had gone 148 straight games (incl. playoffs) with at least 1 FTA, since Jan. 2, 2015, at Pelicans

ESPN's Michael Wilbon also got in his shots at Harden and the Rockets during the first half:

Michael Wilbon @RealMikeWilbon

Harden might as well been on the floor (again) looking for his mouthpiece...hard to take the Rockets seriously after that half of ball...

ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes provided one more humorous critique of Houston's game plan against the Warriors:

Mina Kimes @minakimes

didn't see the revenant but I'm guessing the plot is basically what's happening to the rockets....?

Nothing the Rockets did in Game 1 had any impact. Beverley may have hoped to get in Curry's head, but by the time the scuffle was over, the Warriors were already in control of things. 

This was exactly the kind of start many were expecting from Golden State. The Warriors dominated on their home court with a 39-2 mark during the regular season and have owned the Rockets the last two years. 

The Rockets haven't been given much of a chance to challenge Golden State, let alone actually win this series. Nothing that happened Saturday did anything to sway that opinion. 

Postgame Reaction

The biggest story after the game was Golden State head coach Steve Kerr commenting on the status of Curry's ankle, via NBA TV:

NBA TV @NBATV

"We don't want to take any chances." Steve Kerr on the status of @StephenCurry30's ankle. #NBAPlayoffs https://t.co/UovyttVbqM

Per the NBA on ESPN, Kerr added that Curry will be listed as questionable for Monday's Game 2 against the Rockets. 

Curry was more adamant about his status for the next game, per Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Monte Poole, saying "Right now," he doesn't "see a scenario" in which he doesn't play. He did add that he will need to see how things progress over the next 48 hours.

As far as Golden State's work on the court in Game 1, per the Warriors' official Twitter, Kerr was complimentary of his defense:

Golden State Warriors @warriors

"I thought our defense was excellent...we made them earn every point." - .@SteveKerr https://t.co/aIf7KY3iDF

After things got chippy between the two teams, per Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group, Houston interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff simply said his team doesn't "mind being physical. We don't mind the other team playing physical."

Curry didn't try to stir any controversy with Beverley, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, saying Houston's guard is "an aggressive player. He tries to get under your skin. That's his M.O."

Harden didn't have much to say, literally, as he told reporters, per USA Today's Sam Amick, he had "no comment" when asked about not taking any free throws. He did seemingly ponder, almost as if to himself, "how's that possible, though?"

The Rockets may end up asking that a lot this series regarding many things.

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