Games 1 and 2 showed us the best and worst of the Warriors and Rockets


Games 1 and 2 showed us the best and worst of the Warriors and Rockets

Well, you know what they say – a series hasn’t truly begun until the home team beats the hell out of the best team.
In other words, with Houston’s merciless 127-105 pummeling of Golden State in Wednesday’s second game of the Western Conference Finals, we now have the germ of the series that was advertised back around Christmas – the two best teams bringing the best out of each other, and in doing so bringing out the worst in each other as well.
In Game 1, the Warriors showed the nation a Houston team that one could easily be disgusted by, so the Rockets did the same thing to Golden State in Game 2, becoming the intrepid, adventurous, arrogant (in the competitive way) and fearless team they clearly were not two nights earlier. The Warriors were slower, more hesitant, and eventually more frustrated and chippy, descending into losing hockey team territory near the end with cheap fouls by first Draymond Green and then Kevin Durant.
Conversely, just as James Harden’s 41 points in Game 1 turned out to be so many empty calories, so too was Durant’s 38 in Game 2. Teams that boast that they are brilliantly constructed ensemble pieces shouldn’t fall so easily into one-man point-collectors.
Houston’s offense broke quickly and smoothly, giving up the static isolation-heavy ball of Game 1 and assembling a more aggressive and fluid show. Golden State’s offense, on the other hand, just broke. They shot poorly, they never created a rhythm, never made a worrisome run and took the beating they so richly deserved. The final margin of 26 points represented the ninth time in their last 10 playoff losses that they have lost by double digits, and the average in those 10 games is an absurd 19.4 points.
But if helps, they went on to win five of the previous eight games that followed those routs, so they should not be fazed by being embarrassed so thoroughly.
Most important for those of you who came for a long and tense series, you can at least say you have seen each team at its best and at its worst, thus leaving Games 3 through 7 (if the deities are on their jobs) to find their own balance – one that better represents the idealized versions of both the Rockets and Warriors we convinced ourselves we would get when this series began.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Oakland -- Sunday, May 20th at 5pm
Game 4 Oakland -- Tuesday, May 22nd at 6pm
Game 5 Houston -- Thursday, May 24th at 6pm
Game 6 Oakland -- Saturday, May 26th at 6pm
Game 7 Houston -- Monday, May 28th at 6pm

Draymond Green tries his hand at scouting during latest Warriors Draft workout


Draymond Green tries his hand at scouting during latest Warriors Draft workout

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Tuesday brought in six more draft hopefuls, who went through drills under the watchful eyes of the five most significant layers of the team.

CEO Joe Lacob was there, as was general manager Bob Myers, assistant GM/chief scout Larry Harris, assistant coach Ron Adams and...forward Draymond Green.

This is a glimpse into the inner workings of the Warriors, a hoops democracy in which every voice is given a chance to be heard.

It’s conceivable, though, that no one’s words carried more weight than those of Green, who continues to prove his value to the franchise goes beyond defending, rebounding, playmaking and scoring.

“Who am I to say I know more than Draymond Green about basketball?” Myers asked. “It probably is the other way around. If you want somebody whose opinion holds some weight ... he watches college. He comes to the workouts. So maybe he should make the pick.”

Myers wasn’t entirely serious about that, but he’s also not dismissing the possibility.

“When he speaks,” Myers said, “we give him the gravity that his comments deserve.”

Few if any players in the NBA can dissect and analyze the game as effectively as Green, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and a noted video student. It’s also conceivable that no one knows better than Green what the Warriors need to become a better team next season.

“Draymond’s been here the last three days,” Harris said. “He was in a meeting with us in our draft room for a couple hours yesterday. He would tell you he was bored. But that’s OK. We’re glad he’s here and he really does care and wants to know.”

None of the players at the team facility Tuesday is a lock to be drafted. Guard Svi Mykhailluk (Kansas), and forwards Gary Clark (Cincinnati) and Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) project as possible second-round picks.

The Warriors own the 28th overall pick but are considering buying a second-rounder for the third consecutive season. They took Pat McCaw (No. 38 overall) in 2016 and Jordan Bell (38th) last season. Green was chosen in the second round (35th) in 2012 and has become a core member of a three-time championship team.

“To have a guy like him, who is a three-time champion, care about who we’re taking at 28 shows great leadership,” Myers said. “I’m sure the players look over there and say, ‘That’s Draymond Green.’ He was a 35th pick. It’s motivation for those guys.”

Draft prospect Michael Porter Jr says he's 'a little more physical' than Kevin Durant

Draft prospect Michael Porter Jr says he's 'a little more physical' than Kevin Durant

Michael Porter Jr. is...

... a confident soon-to-be 20-year old (his birthday is June 29).

How do we know this? Well, he said the following to Damon Amendolara of CBS Sports:

"Right now, I would say I'm a mix of Giannis and KD. I like going to the hole a little more than KD does. I like bumping into people; a little more physical than KD.

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast: Joe Lacob takes inventory; Melvin Frazier loves playing defense]

"But I like to shoot the ball a little more than Giannis. So that's what I like to compare myself to -- and also Tracy McGrady. I get compared to him a lot, and I like that one a lot, too.

"Those are three amazing players. It doesn't feel bad to be in the same conversation as them."

More physical than Kevin Durant, eh?

The 2017 and 2018 Finals MVP averaged 7.2 free throw attempts per game in the 2018 playoffs.

Who do you think is more looking forward to facing Porter next season -- Durant or Draymond Green?

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller