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No Steph, no problem: Warriors take 2-0 series lead over Rockets

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 18: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets in the second quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 18, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

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Going into the half with an eight-point lead over the Rockets, Andre Iguodala’s assessment of Game 2 was telling: “It kind of feels like a scrimmage in practice.”

It never stopped feeling like that, and the Warriors—without their best player—beat the Rockets 115-106 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Stephen Curry was sidelined with the ankle injury he suffered in the Warriors’ Game 1 blowout win, and theoretically, that should have made for a closer game. And for a while, it was. Houston got Golden State’s lead down to three at various points in the second half, but were never able to sustain momentum even after a rough offensive start to the third quarter for the Warriors.

And by the end, the Rockets had given up. Dwight Howard fouled out with four minutes remaining, after an awful game at both ends of the floor. James Harden, after bemoaning his lack of foul calls in the first game, went to the free-throw line 15 times and finished with 28 points. And it still wasn’t enough.

Starting in Curry’s place, Shaun Livingston scored 18 points, including several crucial baskets in the fourth quarter when the Rockets got within striking distance. Most of the offensive load for Golden State was carried by Klay Thompson, who finished with 32. Andrew Bogut dominated Howard on the defensive end, with three blocks.

It’s unclear whether Curry will play in Thursday’s Game 3 in Houston. If there’s any doubt, he’ll probably sit out once again. The Rockets have given us no reason to believe it will matter.