Austin Rivers: Rockets thought Warriors would fold without Kevin Durant

Austin Rivers: Rockets thought Warriors would fold without Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant went down with a strained calf during Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round NBA playoff series with the Houston Rockets, many believed the two-time defending champions would be pushed over in Game 6, setting up a decisive Game 7.

Apparently, you can count the Rockets among those who doubted the Warriors' mental toughness.

Rockets backup guard Austin Rivers was a guest on Friday's edition of ESPN's "First Take," and he admitted Houston believed Game 6 would be easy.

"I'll be honest," River said, "the consensus in the locker room is, you know, it was 2-2, we came back in that Game 5, we were down like 17 at one point, and then KD goes down. That first timeout, it was like, 'Yo, this is it. This is our chance. We have to take this.' But that's why you never underestimate a championship team. They just figure out ways to do things. They just kept playing.

"We expected Game 6 to be, 'All right, we'll come out, punch them in the mouth. They'll quit. Fold.' And then be like, 'Let's try and get Game 7.' We came around and messed around, and they're like, 'They're not taking this game.' It went downhill from there."

Pride cometh before the fall.

Expecting a championship-tested team to quit when it has a chance to eliminate its biggest rival is next-level arrogance from the Rockets. Arrogance that, as Rivers pointed out, came back to bite them when Steph Curry exploded for 33 second-half points to send Houston packing after Game 6.

[RELATED: Warriors now facing prospect of playing Finals without KD]

It's been a summer of tough looks for the Rockets.

LeBron James mentions Steph Curry, clowns in cryptic Instagram post

LeBron James mentions Steph Curry, clowns in cryptic Instagram post

LeBron James did not play in the Warriors-Lakers preseason game Monday night in Los Angeles.

But about 80 minutes before the opening tip at Staples Center, the three-time NBA champion created headlines when he spoke to the media regarding the drama between the NBA, China and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Then about five minutes before the game started, he sent out two tweets:

Before the fourth quarter began, LeBron and Warriors superstar Steph Curry exchanged pleasantries:

After Tuesday's practice, LeBron said he feels like his pregame comments were taken out of context:

About 45 minutes later, he took to Instagram:

Are "they" -- the clowns that is -- the media in general or anybody who disagreed with what he said? Both?

Why send that message to Curry? 

[RELATEDHow security man Walker shocked Steph with Warriors return]

Does LeBron realize he sounded foolish when he told reporters that he believes Morey "was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation, and if he was, then so be it," and immediately followed that with: "I have no idea, but that is just my belief."

Is he aware that the backlash is self-inflicted?

Are you sick of this whole story?

Let's move on.

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Steve Kerr hopes Kevon Looney will play in Warriors' season opener

Steve Kerr hopes Kevon Looney will play in Warriors' season opener

Well, this isn't exactly the Kevon Looney update you were hoping for.

Steve Kerr announced after practice Tuesday that the Warriors big man will not play against the Lakers on Wednesday or Friday.

Looney tweaked his hamstring 13 days ago and missed Golden State's first three preseason games.

At Media Day, Kerr told reporters that he has big plans for the 23-year-old and is planning on playing him around 30 minutes per night.

Willie Cauley-Stein -- who was projected to start at center -- has missed all of traning camp and is expected to be sidelined the first couple regular season games.

Without these two, the Dubs are getting crushed on the glass.

[RELATEDLooney shares details of ongoing chest injury rehab]

At this point, it would be very surprising if Marquese Chriss isn't on the Opening Night roster.

The 22-year-old is averaging 10.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.7 blocks during the preseason. He's also a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

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