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Durant lights up Rockets in Warriors Game 1 win

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Nobody in a Rockets uniform had any answer for Kevin Durant Monday.

James Harden, Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green, Nene any and all of them got hands put on them by Durant as the Warriors ran away with a 119-106 Game 1 victory at Houston’s Toyota Center.

Durant drilled crossover pullups like they were uncontested layups, unbothered by any defender, for a team-high 37 points.

Harden battled him at least in terms of points as he went for 41 of his own, but they came in vastly different ways. Durant was fed in the post with the Warriors normal back screens and cuts going on around him and would simply turn around and shoot over whoever was guarding him.

Harden had his entire team clear out to watch him dribble 15 times and then try to beat his man off the dribble. Harden may have finished with more points but it’s an absolutely taxing style and he gassed out in the third quarter, which is when the Warriors made their move.

Klay Thompson hit six 3’s, most of them wide open, and finished with 28 points to help bust the game wide open. The Rockets were working very hard for every look at the basket, while it looked too easy for the Warriors as they feasted on cuts and kick outs.

The only Warrior to visibly struggle was Stephen Curry, who finished with just 18. While he only had one official turnover he got baited into pounding the ball into the floor on many occasions and forcing up bad shots on others.

It’s exactly what the Warriors did to Houston, with Paul and Harden running down the shot clock every single possession.

For a coach like Mike D’Antoni, who patented his seven seconds or less offense with the Suns, this team is the polar opposite. Yes they like to run, but it’s feast or famine for them. Either a fast break or close to a shot clock violation.

After one game, it’s already apparent that this style isn’t sustainable to beat the Warriors. The Rockets got 64 combined points from their starting backcourt while the other three men on the floor stood around watching the toll that performance was taking on their stars.

Trevor Ariza, Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute shot a combined 3-of-17 — at home, when bench and supporting players are expected to produce their best performances.

For a series that looked like it matched up the two best teams in the NBA, the league is once again reminded what kind of team they are up against in the Warriors.

Up next

After a debilitating Game 1 loss, the Rockets will get a break to regroup before attempting to even the series up on Wednesday before heading to Oracle Arena.

Notes

With his six 3’s, Klay Thompson passed J.R. Smith for 9th all-time in playoff 3’s made with 271. Ray Allen is No. 1 on the list with 385. LeBron James (346) and Stephen Curry (330) are second and third respectively.


Curtis Uemura is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @CUemura on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.

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