HOUSTON -- Not long after Steve Kerr’s neat synopsis of a 127-105 loss to Houston Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, the ever candid Draymond Green cut through the blather and identified the root of the problem.
“Our game-plan discipline wasn’t good,” Green said. “We knew what type of force they would come out with. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
“We just didn’t have very good game-plan discipline.”
Part of the game plan was, presumably, to disallow clean looks from the 3-point corners by Rockets forwards PJ Tucker and Trevor Ariza. That is, after all, what they do. They shoot corner 3s with the comfort of a Kardashian taking a selfie.
Following the plan perfectly in Game 1 on Monday, the Warriors stayed on Tucker and Ariza and held them to a combined 9 points on 3-of-11 shooting, 1-of-7 from deep.
Deviating from the plan in Game 2, the Warriors got lost in defensive rotations, were slow on switches and mostly waved at Tucker and Ariza. They had plenty of room to breathe and exploited it, combining for 43 points on 15-of-18 shooting, including 6-of-9 from the beyond the arc.
The discipline of Game 1, which funneled James Harden and Chris Paul to the bucket with minimal defensive rotation in order to squeeze the passing lanes, was gone. The corners were open.
“The space on the floor is in the corner,” explained Tucker, who had a playoff career-high 22 points. “That’s where I’m at. You want to be able to knock those shots down. So (Harden and Paul) always make great decisions and find me.”
Asked if they’d rather give up 64 points to Harden and Paul, as they did in Game 1, or 68 to Eric Gordon (27), Ariza (19) and Tucker, Klay Thompson didn’t think twice: “Yes.”
The numbers support that. On a night when Harden and Paul scored 35 points on 15-of-39 shooting, 4-of-20 from deep, the Warriors lost by 22 because the supporting cast took advantage of space that didn’t exist in Game 1.
“Our defense wasn’t connected,” Kerr said diplomatically. “We weren’t on the same page on a lot of plays where we got a little out of sorts.
“But give them the credit. They came out and played a great game, got everybody going. We got what we deserved. They kicked our butts.”
|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|