The time FINALLY came.
8.8 million people tuned in Monday night to gaze over the utter talent that flooded the Toyota Center, making it the most-watched game in WCF history.
Houston’s franchise is built solely to dismantle the reigning “Kings of the West,” but the Warriors stood tall in Game 1, proving that a dynasty is built to last, as they commanded the Rockets, 119-106.
Kevin Durant served as the driving force against Houston, as the rest of Golden State’s squad selflessly revolved their offense around him. Durant went for 37 points, all of which — even despite Houston’s honorable attempt at a double team — seemed far too easy for this four-time scoring champion.
Harden outscored KD, 41-37, but the only thing that proved was that an isolation-ridden offense lacks tremendously when faced against a five-man frontcourt, which executes ball movement at the highest level.
Houston’s biggest problem in Game 1 was their lack of player utilization.
Capela has three inches on Green, alongside a significant advantage in the vertical department. “Mr. SwisDon’tMiss” offers elite composure that counters Green’s tenacious and vocal play perfectly.
If Houston makes this a battle of the fittest, the Rockets lose in five.
The Warriors have four All-Stars on their starting five, and they all offer a share-the-ball mindset — which is precisely what makes Golden State the expected team in this series. Although Durant, Green, Curry and Klay Thompson have the abilities to lead their own team, it is the fact they oversee that, to compose — arguably — the most versatile roster in NBA history, that catapults them well beyond other franchises.
Houston runs a two-man show with Harden and Chris Paul. Despite both being legends of basketball, their game — Harden’s significantly more so than Paul’s — is so individualized that it limits their ability to add change on the frontcourt when Houston’s lone wolves are suppressed.
If the Rockets add Capela to their offensive equation, they actually develop some depth in fighting power.
Nonetheless, the likelihood of Mike D’Antoni establishing this game plan in Game 3 would be shocking. D’Antoni has limited Capela’s role all season long, highlighting Capela as either Houston’s only effort on defense, or the guy who tips the ball in on offense.
Although the Rockets had a monumental regular season, the playoffs are always a different game. Nine times out of ten, it is not what you did in the regular season that matters, but rather what you will do in the postseason that matters.
Even with the Rockets taking Game 2 by a landslide, 127-105, it still does not change the fact that Houston’s stubborn ways are fading quickly, as their offense is routinely limiting their potential.
Golden State’s three straight years of NBA Finals experience and adaptability offers a clear-cut upper-hand in a trying postseason. Game 3 belongs to the home-bound Warriors.