Draymond kick lets Rockets survive in double overtime

In an all too familiar scene, Draymond Green’s foot costs the Warriors. The Rockets outlasted the Warriors in double-OT 132-127 after a bad case of Dray ja vu.

With the Dubs trailing by three Green drove to the hoop and drew a foul on James Harden, he also kicked him in the face and was subjected to a Flagrant 1 or the Draymond rule.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

Green said that he’s not going to let the call affect him going forward:

“I really don’t care, they are going to do what they are going to do regardless, it don’t make no difference one way or another. I thought there were other fouls that could have been called flagrants too… Who knows.”

It was an unfortunate end as Green had a tremendous game aside from the kick to the tune of 20 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists.

Green said that he has no control over what the refs call so he can’t worry about it:

“I don’t control what those people do. Whatever they decide is what they decide. Ain’t much I can do about it, ain’t much apparently anything anyone else can do about it, so I really don’t care what it is they are going to do, and I move on.”

This was the game everyone thought it was going to be, an offensive showcase, as both teams rank in the top five in offensive efficiency, that was bound to get heated even without departed agitators Dwight Howard and Andrew Bogut.

Although the game looked to just be the first part but with 5:15 left in the half the next three possessions went like this, Green foul on James Harden, Green technical, Steve Kerr technical, Durant charge.

It seemed like a moment that was going to spur one of those huge Warriors spite everyone runs, but that didn’t come until Stephen Curry hit a crazy falling down circus shot, that didn’t even count.

It seemed weird that Patrick Beverley frantically tried to block the shot from Curry after the whistle had already been blown and Curry just flinging the ball from his back. Beverley failed to block it, it went in and then the Warriors went on a 10-2 run, with Curry scoring seven straight.

That shot seemed to energize Curry as he finished with 28 points, before that outburst, it was a game to forget for Curry as he was in early foul trouble and had just five points at the half. But he fouled out on a charge with less than four minutes to go in the second OT.

Kevin Durant kept the Warriors afloat for the first half, scoring 19 points on 6-9 shooting, and they needed all of it as their offense felt stagnant for long stretches, especially when the second unit in. He would finish as their leading scorer with 39 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Kerr said that the Warriors settled for a lot of threes and the offense stalled:

“I thought KD had a couple chances where he could have gone to the hole. All in all it was execution, we weren’t moving, we weren’t cutting like we normally do and it just felt like our ball movement went away.”

But the Rockets looked like they flustered the Warriors with their new up-tempo offense all game long.

James Harden triple-doubled with 27 points, 13 assists and 12 boards but shot just 8-23 and just 2-11 from three. It was the duo of Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson who really hurt the Warriors going a combined 9-19 from beyond the arc and scored the last 10 points of regulation to force overtime.

Their fast pace not only gave their shooters a good amount of open looks, but it sped up the Warriors as well.

And when the Warriors are sped up, they tend to get careless with the ball—just like in the NBA Finals when the Cavs did exactly the same thing. And just like then, there were a couple of behind the back passes to no one.

Durant said that the way the Rockets play isn’t like most teams in the NBA:

“This team man, they’re erratic, they don’t run any plays, they just run pick and rolls and drive and kick for threes.”

But it also diced up any traditional big the Warriors put in the game.

None more apparent than the pair of free agent veteran signings continue to disappoint as Zaza Pachulia was not good in the first, aside from a nice pass to a cutting Durant, he picked up two very quick fouls and gave up two easy layups.

Their other signing fared even worse as David West got worked in his three minutes on the court. West came in, missed early shots, picked up two obvious fouls and left.

Combined the duo had zero points, two rebounds, two turnovers and four fouls in six total minutes in the first half. Gross.

Kerr said that the style that Houston plays was not a game for centers:

“We knew coming in it was going to be a difficult game [for them] because they basically put the ball in Harden’s hands and you’ve got to have a lot of speed out there to stay in front of him and do a lot of switching.”

In fact Kevon Looney may have had more of an impact in his one minute of action, just by blocking a shot and not committing any egregious fouls. And judging by Draymond’s mom’s tweets, she feels the same way.

And although Looney and JaVale McGee definitely aren’t ready to play 25 minutes a game, they can easily contribute the 11 combined minutes Pachulia and West played tonight.

Up Next

The Warriors take on the visiting Phoenix Suns Saturday in what will be the third time the two teams meet in a little over a month.

Notes

The Warriors entered the game averaging a league leading 31.1 assists per game, if they can continue dishing out dimes at that rate they’d be the first team to average 30 assists per game since the 84-85 Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the record for assists per game at 31.4. … Houston snaps Golden State’s streak of nine straight regular season victories over the Rockets as well as their overall 12 game winning streak. … With November now over, the Warriors finished their 22nd consecutive month with a winning record, which set a new franchise record.