Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 135-134 OT loss to Rockets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 135-134 OT loss to Rockets


OAKLAND – James Harden drilled a contested 3-pointer with 1.0 seconds remaining in overtime Thursday night to send the Warriors out of Oracle Arena with a 135-134 loss to the Rockets.

Harden’s shot came against the defense of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and the reigning MVP turned toward Green to throw a few words around.

That game-winner capped an 82-64 advantage for Houston after halftime.

Here are three takeaways from a defeat sure to eat at the Warriors beyond this night:

They went into chill mode

After a first half during which they played at a rapid and highly effective pace, building a 17-point lead, the Warriors played it much too cool in the second half.

So cool, in fact, that they let the Rockets back into the game.

Houston, which shot 42.2 percent in the first half, came out in the third quarter and rolled up 39 points on 54.5-percent shooting, 61.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Harden heated up. Gerald Green got it going. Clint Capela kept it going. And the Warriors, all too often, were much too lax.

Houston outscored the Warriors 16-15 in OT.

Capela was too much

Add Rockets center Clint Capela to the list of big men who have torched the Warriors.

Capela had monster game, scoring a career-high-tying 29 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. He was hyperactive and efficient and pretty much had his way with anybody that defended him in the paint.

The Warriors tried four different players – Kevon Kevon Looney, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Jordan Bell – and none were able to keep Capela off the glass, where he accounted for nearly half of Houston’s 48 rebounds.

The Warriors are trying to wait for DeMarcus Cousins. Meanwhile, they are being clobbered inside.

Gifts nine days after Christmas

The Warriors played a fabulous first half in every area except one: turnovers.

They committed 12 in the first 24 minutes, gifting the Rockets with 15 points. The primary culprits were Curry, who committed five in 17 minutes, and Green who tossed away four in 16 minutes.

Houston’s indifferent defense seemingly lulled the Warriors into thinking they could throw the ball anywhere they pleased and achieve excellent results. Sometimes it worked; they scored 70 points in the half.

Other times, though, it looked like sloppy, careless basketball.

The Warriors were much better at taking care of the ball after halftime, but their first-half sloppiness kept them from opening up a margin that might have blown the Rockets off the floor.

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

To play or not to play?

That is the question facing the Warriors as the NBA nears a decision on how many teams will participate when the league resumes the 2019-20 season.

While coach Steve Kerr said the team is operating as if the season is over, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that owner Joe Lacob told his fellow owners that the team was "willing" to play if all 30 NBA teams were asked to play.

But ... Wojnarowski also reported, citing sources, that the Warriors have been "far more cool to the idea in private."

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Based on Wojnarowski's reporting from Friday, the NBA Board of Governors are expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver's proposal for a 22-team restart plan later this week, meaning the Warriors -- who hold the worst record in the league -- would not be asked to play any more games this season.

The Warriors don't have anything left to play for this season. They are the only team that has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. Does it make sense for the players to go through several weeks of training camp to play a handful of meaningless games?

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again,' " Warriors star Steph Curry told former teammate Anthony Morrow recently on "The Life Podcast."

[RELATED: Warriors facility opens, players show up]

Would it be advantageous for the Warriors to get a brief look at Curry playing alongside Andrew Wiggins? Sure, but they don't need to risk injury to either player when the goal is making sure the team is ready to bounce back for the 2020-21 season.

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Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Damian Lillard created headlines last week with his comments about the NBA's potential plans for resuming the 2019-20 season.

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team," the Portland Trail Blazers star guard told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now.

"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs -- I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games."

What is Steph Curry's reaction to that?

"I feel what he's saying because it's hard mentally to go with this long of gap, and then prepare for games you know don't matter," the Warriors' superstar said on the "The Life Podcast" with Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack. "I get it.

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again.'"

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Golden State did re-open Chase Center facilities Monday so players could work out again, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock. 

But all indications are that the Warriors won't be playing any additional games this season, and will not be included among the teams that eventually will take the court in Orlando.

[RELATED: Oakland's own Lillard rips Orlovsky for calling him spoiled]

"Between now and Thursday's vote of the board of governors on the plan to restart the season, the NBA is working to complete the details of a 22-team format," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe wrote Monday.

So for Lillard and the Blazers -- who currently sit in a three-way tie for ninth place in the Western Conference -- it appears they will get the opportunity to claw their way into the playoffs.

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