Listen Live Now:

Fitz: You don’t play small against the Warriors

You don’t try to sprint with Usain Bolt.

And you don’t play small against the Warriors.  Particularly at Oracle.  They are the best small ball team in NBA history.  And PJ Tucker is not Draymond Green.  A record setting 41 point win should hammer home that point.

Houston’s Game 2 success with the once in a lifetime scoring effort from PJ Tucker, Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon fooled the Rockets into thinking they were better with less Clint Capela.  They are not.

16 straight home playoff wins.  A new all-time NBA record.  With all the tremendous teams in NBA history, this edition of the Warriors is one for the ages.

As predicted, the multiple days off benefitted the Warriors wonderfully.  Particularly the man who wears #30.  The constant discussion of whether Stephen Curry is “healthy” is odd.  When you suffer a significant knee injury, you are never going to be at full speed only a few weeks later.  But you can be productive and also be a major factor.  Especially when you are one of the most dynamic players in NBA history.  The one day off before Game 4 will be a larger test of Steph’s “bounce”.  But he is getting better and better.  Third quarter Human Torch mode was a very welcome sight.  But he also asked to come out with over two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  Without the prior injury Steph plays that whole 3rd quarter.

And while Curry’s scoring will be the story, and rightly so, there were a number of less than obvious reasons the Warriors dominated in Game 3.

Draymond Green and Kevon Looney were amazingly solid defensively and provided an awe inspiring rebounding effort.  The Warriors smartly tip rebounds to teammates and open space to be tracked down.  Also, Draymond boxes out to allow another teammate to get the rebound.  He does not get an individual statistic other than the W at the end.

The maniacal pursuit of every loose ball and every second effort was typified by the incredible professionalism of Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston.

The Warriors are an elite defensive team.  The Rockets are not.  That is THE difference between these two teams. 

The Rockets must have an exceptional night from multiple role players to win a game.  In Game 2, Ariza, Tucker and Gordon had 68 points on 23 of 33 shooting.  Game 3?  Try 23 points on 8 of 24 shooting.  Basically, they returned to Earth.

Houston has to be concerned because that is now back-to-back inefficient games from James Harden and Chris Paul.  They are wearing down with all the isolation play.  Game 2 they were 15-of-38, and in Game 3 more of the same, at 12-of-32.  For the Rockets to win Game 4, their two superstars have to have monster games.  They must also shoot better than 50% from the field.

Random statements:

Gerald Green is Houston’s Nick Young.  Always scary that he might erupt for a 20 point game. 

When the Rockets don’t get all the fluff free throws, their offensive game looks very different.  Only 13 free throws for Houston in Game 3.  Look out in Game 4.

The double technical on Trevor Ariza and Draymond Green was just wrong.  But reputations play a role.  That’s three T’s for Draymond and 7 is a suspension in the playoffs.  Don’t worry, he is aware of that.

Kevin Durant had taken 49 shots and had one assist in the first two games.  Perfect adjustment for Game 3: 19 shots taken, 6 assists and no turnovers. That’s Warriors basketball.  And makes them much more dangerous and difficult to guard as a team. 

Nine Warriors turnovers in Game 1, eight Warriors turnovers in Game 3.  When they really focus and value the basketball, they cannot be beaten.

The Warriors have still not had an incredible 3-point shooting night as a team in this series.  Don’t worry, its coming.

The Warriors averaged 117 points game in three regular season meetings with Houston.  Through three games in this series, the Warriors are averaging…….117 points vs. Houston.

Game 4 is the series.  And both teams know it.


More from KNBR

Get KNBR in your inbox

Subscribe today to bring The Sports Leader to your email inbox weekly.