Jonathan Coulton famously sang that the first of May is the beginning of the season of having sex outdoors, but on April 30, the only screwing going on was happening inside Oracle Arena and involved Scott Foster going to the window, to the walls on the Houston Rockets.
James Harden had 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting and shot 8-of-9 from the free throw line, but he also had four fouls, never quite looked completely in rhythm, and ended up carrying a minus-9 accumulated in the first quarter all the way through his 34 minutes of action in the game as the Houston Rockets lost 115-109 to the Golden State Warriors to drop to 0-2 in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
In contrast to Game 1, where the Warriors more thoroughly outplayed the Rockets but ran up against their own turnover-prone nature, this time it was Golden State that took care of the ball, recording just 12 giveaways against 17 for Houston (six of which were committed by Harden.)
Stephen Curry jammed his finger in this one, another case of an aging Warriors team having a bit of trouble keeping everyone healthy in the playoffs.
The big three for Golden State may have shot a combined 23-of-56 (41,1 percent) from the field, but the rest of the Warriors stepped up and provided 19-of-35 (54.3 percent) shooting to power the win.
The Warriors also had 18 offensive rebounds to Houston’s 10, leaving the Rockets with a woeful 63.3 defensive rebounding percentage. You’ve got to limit your opponent to one shot, especially when the opponent is one of the most explosive offenses in basketball.
Houston shot 42.5 percent (17-of-40) from three and still lost. Just wait until the shots aren’t falling.
The social media person got the score wrong but not the man of the match. Durant did in fact have 29.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 1, 2019
Bucks the Trend
Milwaukee wasn’t about to roll over after losing Game 1 to the Boston Celtics, and the Bucks won Game 2 decisively by a 123-102 count.
Kyrie Irving absolutely stunk out the joint, scoring just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting, while the Bucks’ best players were firing on all cylinders.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points on 7-of-16 from the field and 13-of-18 from the line, Khris Middleton hit 7-of-10 three-pointers to end up with 28 points overall, and Eric Bledsoe netted 21 points on 7-of-12.
And even wilder was George Hill, who led the Bucks in plus-minus with plus-27 in 25 minutes off the bench.
Milwaukee hit 20-of-47 (42.6 percent) from three and 25-of-31 (80.6 percent) from the line, controlling all aspects of modern NBA basketball in this one.
The Bucks also won the turnover (13-11) and rebound (54-45) battles while holding Boston under 40 percent shooting and running them off the floor with a 101.2 pace.
You play Bucks basketball in Milwaukee, you’re losing to the home team, but Boston still managed a split of the first two games, and that still leaves them right on track for winning in six if they can take care of business back in New England.
But the Bucks didn’t fall further behind, and they quieted some of the talk that they wouldn’t be able to put it together in the playoffs.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 1, 2019
Coming later: A look at high-volume, low-efficiency shooters. Long believed rendered extinct by the end of the NBA Dark Ages, they’re making a comeback…but are they hurting their teams? We put it to the test.
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!