In typical fashion, the Golden State Warriors made Sunday’s game against the Houston Rockets much tougher than it needed to be. But the visitors dug in defensively down the stretch, and Stephen Curry added the finishing touches to a key 106-95 road victory at Toyota Center.
The good, the bad and the ugly from the Golden State Warriors 106-95 victory over the Houston Rockets.
With Draymond Green assuming his regular position in the starting five (though on a 20-minute restriction) and Chris Paul moving back to the bench, there were plenty of talking points from this matchup. Here are some instant observations from Sunday’s inner-conference clash:
The Good: CP3 and the second unit
Green and the rest of the first unit got out to a shaky start in his return, with the Warriors gifting Houston a few easy baskets via some sloppy turnovers (what’s new) and falling behind 18-13 out of the gate.
The Dubs would go on a 31-13 run from that point as the second unit, led by Chris Paul, slowed the game down and restored order to the Warriors’ attack. The Paul/Dario Saric two-man game worked wonders early on, with ‘CP3’ consistently knifing his way into the teeth of the Rocket defense and generating great looks for his teammates along the perimeter.
Paul had a tough time getting going himself, shooting just 3-of-8 from the field for eight points in the game. But the 38-year-old racked up seven assists to only one turnover, buoying the Warriors’ offense during the non-Curry minutes.
Paul is a master at breaking down defenses in the pick and roll, creating advantages on the backline. Gary Payton II was the primary beneficiary of the Paul/Saric connection tonight and to nobody’s surprise, the defensive ace made life difficult for the Rockets’ guards. He pestered at the point of attack, racking up three steals in his 18 minutes of play.
However, his contributions offensively were key as ‘GPII’ added 15 points, including a few big shots from behind the arc. Payton II is usually parked either in the weak-side corner, or right near the rim in the dunker’s spot, so it’ll be crucial for him to capitalize on the open looks generated by the playmaking wizardry of Paul.