It is one thing to read too much into a Game 1 when it doesn’t tell us anything about the relative strengths of the teams, with one team winning big, but on its home floor against a player notorious for treating a seven-game series as a boxing match, feeling out the opponent in the early rounds.
It is another thing for a team to go into an opponent’s house, punch them square in the mouth, knock out a couple of teeth, and then dare them to bite back against a title defense by the champion.
And that’s why the Houston Rockets are well and truly screwed.
Golden State showed why nobody in the league can stop their four All-Stars when they’re all firing at once.
Kevin Durant had 37 points, playing primary scorer and taking by far the most shots (14-of-27) while still not sacrificing efficiency thanks to 3-of-6 from three and 6-of-6 from the foul line.
Draymond Green did the little things, with nine rebounds and nine assists against only five points.
Stephen Curry had 18, adding six rebounds and eight assists of his own while hitting 8-of-15.
And Klay Thompson caught fire from three, hitting 6-of-15 from out there, hitting all three of his two-point shots, canning his four free throws, and finishing with 28 points.
Meanwhile, don’t blame Houston’s stars for this; James Harden had 41 points on 14-of-24, hitting 5-of-9 from three and 8-of-10 at the line.
Chris Paul hit 8-of-17, ending up with a double-double on 23 points and 11 rebounds.
And Clint Capela was his usual interior self, hitting 6-of-7 to get his 12 points, but doing so in just 30 minutes because Golden State ran Houston’s four-out offense off the floor.
This was, structurally, not a case of Houston choking or Golden State playing out of their minds.
This was one team that is, in the playoffs, simply too good for the other one.
Golden State won this game 119-106. If they keep it up in Game 2, they might just sweep the Rockets.
More likely they win in six, but what do you do when the skill and playoff pedigree gap is this wide?
Steph gonna Steph:
— NBA (@NBA) May 15, 2018
Durant went nuclear:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 15, 2018
And Klay had some fun:
Klay had himself a night 👌💦 pic.twitter.com/sL8gp2tHQe
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 15, 2018
Game 2 is a desperation game for Houston. Lose, and they are deader than disco. Win, and they’re still wounded but not mortally.
Golden State just made a golden statement in this game. Playoff basketball, folks.