Warriors end Rockets’ post-season hopes

The Golden State Warriors got their sixth straight win after beating the Houston Rockets 133-110 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Thursday.

Meanwhile, having suffered their third straight defeat, the Rockets are now four games behind the Warriors and in 10th place in the Western Conference.

With only six games to go for both teams during the regular season, the Rockets are unlikely to appear in the play-in tournament.

The Warriors drained 17 triples out of 35 attempts in Thursday’s game, but not everyone in their rotations shot to kill.

For example, their best player Stephen Curry missed two of his six shots from downtown, and veteran point guard Chris Paul made both of his 3-pointers in the first quarter. Lester Quinones went 3-for-3 behind the arc, but he did it only during garbage time.

However, Klay Thompson alone contributed enough firepower from the outside by knocking down seven 3-pointers from 11 attempts. It was the 50th game of his career in which he made at least seven shots from downtown, the second-most in NBA all-time history, behind only his teammate Curry.

Of course, the rest of the Warriors not raining many triples didn’t mean they struggled to score. The team made 28 of their 38 field goals (FGs) in the paint to outscore the Rockets 56-46 there.

Curry missed only one of his eight shots in this area. Rookie big man Trayce Jackson-Davis took all of his 10 FG attempts there and made eight of them. Him, Curry and Thompson combined to drop 78 points for their side.

The Rockets lost Thursday’s key game at home because they couldn’t match the opponents in offensive output.

Their signature defensive aggression was still there and was reflected in their leads in both steals (11-6) and fast break points (15-8).

Nonetheless, they were shut down by the Warriors with their well-designed defensive policy during the half-court game.

One of the main reasons behind the Rockets’ previous 11-game winning streak that made the Warriors feel insecure about their play-in tournament qualification was the remarkable performance of Jalen Green.

He averaged 30.2 points and 4.5 triples at 45 percent per game in those games. Coach Ime Udoka allowed him to launch more attacks off the dribble, which enabled him to make better use of his superb athleticism.

The Warriors refused to give Green the space he needed to accelerate by having Andrew Wiggins follow him closely from the first minute of the game.

Wiggins is big enough to keep Green from pulling up to shoot outside the 3-point line. If Green tried to force his way in, other Warriors would come immediately to double-team, both to stop him from charging the rim and to force him to pass the ball to his teammates.

Such defense came with the cost of leaving open shots for other Rockets both behind the arc and under the hoop, but it was worth it. Green only got 13 points and seven assists with four turnovers. The entire Rockets team missed 28 of their 40 triples.

Their poor shooting form was one thing, but Green doesn’t have good enough passing skills for his teammates to catch and shoot the ball without adjusting. That’s also why the team failed to attack with good efficiency next to the rim.



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