Foul Play: Rockets lose Game 1 to the Warriors on some questionable missed calls by the officials.
The Rockets lost a tough game in Oracle Arena 104-100 to the reigning NBA Champs Golden State Warriors on Sunday. It was the first playoff meeting between the two powerhouses since Houston was defeated in seven games last year in the Western Conference Finals.
“Just call the game the way it's supposed to be called and we'll live with the results. It's plain and simple,” said a frustrated James Harden to the media after the game.
Harden was referring to the number of fouls he thought should have been called on some of his patented step-back three-point shots where he wasn’t given much room to land.
“I mean the response was they (The Officials) came in halftime and said they missed them. That's what they told me. They missed four of them. That's 12 foul shots. So be it. They're trying to do the best they can do,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Houston started the game how they ended Game 7 of the WCF by being very ineffective from the three-point line. They hit 1 out of 14 three-point attempts (7.1%) in the first quarter which made them a combined 8 for 58 in five quarters against the Warriors.
“We’ve faced these guys three of the last four years in the playoffs. So both teams know each other well. So it’s going to be tough to surprise anybody with a strategy. It’s all about execution,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr when asked about the familiarity of both teams with each other.
One face that is familiar to the Rockets and the rest of the league is Golden State sharpshooter, Kevin Durant. After having an ineffective first half, the soon to be unrestricted free agent exploded in the third quarter for 15 points on an array of mid-range jumpers and dunks. He finished the game with 35 and only attempted 3 three-point shots.
Durant has put the league on notice that the playoffs is his time to shine and has been virtually unstoppable the last five games by averaging almost 40 points a game.
“I think I'm starting to put everything together out there on both sides of the ball,” said Durant.
Houston had their own set of superstars show up on Sunday with Harden and Eric Gordon scoring scoring 35 and 27 points a piece. The Rockets also forced Golden State into a game high 20 turnovers.
If the Rockets can point to one thing that could have had an effect on the the game, it would be the three technical fouls they picked up in the second-half. Chris Paul and coach D’Antoni picked up back to back technical fouls within seconds of each other in the third quarter. But the one that hurt Houston tremendously was the one Paul picked up at the end of the game that got him ejected.
With 17 seconds left, Paul came up with a big steal on Durant with the Warriors up by three. Harden missed a game-tying 29-foot three-pointer, but Paul came up big again with a offensive rebound which he eventually lost out of bounds. He thought he was fouled on the play and went to talk to referee Josh Tiven and appeared to make some incidental contact.
"I get that tech, the first one.The last one to, but I gotta be smarter because that didn't do nothing but hurt our team," said Paul.
Houston will be back in action against the Warriors on Tuesday night in Oracle for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.