Breakfast Special: The Rockets Die by the Sword

The Houston Rockets lived by the three-point shot all season long, putting up three-point attempt rates so high that in plenty of games, they shot more threes than twos.

Trouble was, their shooting went cold on them at exactly the wrong time, and they ended up losing Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 101-92.

It wasn’t just that their shooting went cold. It’s that it went from pretty good, as they made six of their first 14 shots from long range (42.9 percent) to utterly putrid, as they then missed 27 three-pointers in a row before making one late in the fourth quarter.

Houston finished the game 7-of-44 from three-point land. After starting 42.9 percent, they shot 3.3 percent the rest of the way.

The even weirder part? When Houston attacked the basket, they were excellent; the Rockets shot 63 percent on two-point shots (29-of-46) and, had they found a way to shoot more than 51.1 percent of their overall attempts from inside the arc (and usually inside the paint) from there, they might have won this one.

Instead, they not only died by the sword, but Stephen Curry, who had as many three-point makes by himself as the entire Rockets team had but took 29 fewer shots from out there (hitting 46.7 percent on 7-of-15), stabbed them with their own sword.

Some Rockets fans tried to blame the refs, but referee Scott Foster called three fouls on Klay Thompson in the first four minutes of the game, completely changing the complexion of Golden State’s offense, forcing Kevin Durant into a bunch of Dark Ages isolation plays, and opening up the now-hesitant defense to the point where Houston grabbed a 15-point lead.

So if Foster and friends were rigging the game in favor of the Warriors, they found a funny way to do it.

Not counting the three intentional Hack-A-Capela fouls that sent Clint Capela to the line for six free throws (of which he made just two), Houston had two fewer fouls called on them and shot two more free throws.

Speaking of free throws, Golden State got lucky; they hit just 7-of-14 from the line, which might have cost them the game had the Rockets not been historically awful from three-point land.

And it took four free throw makes after starting 3-of-10 to even get to half.

Meanwhile, James Harden had one of his big-counting-stat garbage games; he had 32 points but shot 12-of-29 from the field, 2-of-13 from three, and 6-of-8 from the line; scoring just 1.1 points per field goal attempt isn’t going to cut it. It was Iversonian in its volume shooting awfulness.

But it wasn’t as bad as Trevor Ariza, who missed all 12 of his shots including nine threes to end up with zero points in 42 minutes.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 34; he went 11-of-21 from the field, hit 5-of-11 from long range, and canned 7-of-10 free throws.

Houston was 7-8 this year, regular season and playoffs, when the other team hit more three-pointers than they did. Live by the sword…die by the sword.

Don’t call it a comeback, they’ve been here for years. 71 to be precise, since the Philadelphia Warriors won the very first BAA championship back in 1947.

Now, it’s time for a fourth straight showdown with LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

And how about the rain of three-pointers that made the come-from-behind series victory possible after turning a 2-1 series lead into a 3-2 series deficit after Game 5:

Yeah, Chris Paul was out, but CP3 couldn’t have come in and turned all his teammates into good shooters on a night they were determined to choke.

Plus, questions will abound…did Mike D’Antoni run these guys too hard by shortening the rotation so far that only six or seven players played quality minutes some nights? The team looked gassed at the end.

D’Antoni might well be the Marty Schottenheimer of basketball after yet another playoff disappointment.

If Steph had gone full Ricky Davis trying to get his tenth rebound for the triple-double, nobody could’ve held it against him. As it stood, he had 27 points, ten assists, and nine boards:

Klay Thompson did OK for himself after those early fouls:

Draymond Green was Mr. Versatility:

And KD just joined a club that includes only Steph and Wilt Chamberlain:

Man, the Finals are going to be awesome.

But in the meantime, let’s bid farewell to the TNT Inside the NBA gang; we have to suffer through ESPN’s terrible studio show for the Finals. It’s a travesty is what it is.

Oh, and my prediction? Dubs in 5, Cavs win Game 3 at home, and LeBron puts up a triple-double in a losing effort in the elimination game.

We’ll be here giving you the best coverage of the Finals, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!

One Comment on “Breakfast Special: The Rockets Die by the Sword”

Comments are closed.