Breakfast Special: New Year, Same Great Choking Rockets Taste

Last year in the Western Conference Finals against Golden State, the Houston Rockets choked away Game 7 at home by missing 27 three-pointers in a row.

This year, in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Rockets took a lead into the fourth quarter and choked it away, but this time they shot just fine from three-point land (43.6 percent for the game) but just couldn’t get a defensive stop when they needed one.

The Warriors didn’t have Kevin Durant, and even though they should’ve been the weaker squad sans merc, they managed a win and pulled off a cool feat in the process.

The final score was 118-113, making it such that all six games in this series were decided by no less than four nor more than six points. Every game was competitive, including one that went to overtime.

And sure, it would’ve been nice if it went seven, but let’s face it—champion nearing the end of their dynastic run (mark it down, free agency is going to be an episode of SBNation’s “Collapse” waiting to happen) winning a huge game without the guy who revived their dynasty in a series where every game was a nail-biter?

THAT is entertainment.

Also, Chris Paul is a little punk, and Stephen Curry is a big damn hero:

Steph led the Warriors with 33 points on 9-of-20 from the field and 4-of-11 from three, making all 11 of his free throws to round out the scoring outburst.

Klay Thompson showed up and gave everyone a case of Kevin Who by shooting 10-of-20 overall (7-of-13 from three) and notching 27 points.

And the Rockets have a Clint Capela problem in the playoffs; Capela, despite a double-double (10 points, 10 boards), posted a minus-12 in his 31 minutes, the Rockets winning the game by 7 when he sat.

CP3 had 27 points of his own, James Harden had 35 on 11-of-25 shooting (6-of-15 3PT), and…

…Harden shot just 7-of-12 from the line in a game his team lost by 5? A guy who’s one of the best free throw shooters in the league and gets his points from the line as much as from the field, second only to Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s unguardable Eurostep in FTR this season?

Wow. MVP, my arse.

Both teams had their ups (49.4/42.1/78.3 shooting splits for the Warriors, 47.2/43.6/70.6 for Houston, and Rockets not named Harden were 5-of-5 on free throws) and their downs (17 turnovers and just 35 rebounds for Golden State, 15 and 40 for the Rockets) in this one.

But at the end of the day, angry Steph and a nice support game from Draymond Green (eight points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) gave this one to the defending champions, sending Houston home early one more time as they died by the sword.

Highlights? Highlights!

OK, I’m…off until Monday? How did the NBA end up with no playoff games scheduled for a Saturday? Someone screwed up, but I’ll take it.

In the meantime, why not try a few Pace and Space features? Up top on that little menu, we’ve got clickable stuff. Try “Analysis”. Or “Rants and Hot Takes” (my editorials and a couple of guest columns.) Or “Pacers Tuesday” if you’re an Indiana fan who doesn’t already read that department religiously.

We’ll be talking Game 7s to start your workweek, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!