Warriors beaten easily by Rockets
There were those who said that the Golden State Warriors had little chance of making the playoffs, and there were those who felt that they could reach the finals once again.
On the evidence of their first eight matches, the former prediction looks more of a solid bet than the latter, as they recorded yet another loss to go 2-6 down for the season, this time against the Houston Rockets.
With Steph Curry now out for a few months at least, and Klay Thompson not slated to return until into the new year, they could well be in a sorry state before they reach that point.
D’Angelo Russell has yet to show what he can really do, and his ankle strain, which has kept him out of the last matches, has meant that they are more than a few players short.
If you include their trade of Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets – though he is out for the season – they are not far away from being a starting five down right now.
The Warriors did not have any starters hitting over 20, but their talented bench was one of the reasons cited for their success over the last five years, and they still have players such as Alec Burks, their shooting guard who came off the bench to score 28.
The Rockets seemed more than happy to take the win – the Warriors have been their nemesis over the last few years, always being the ones to defeat them in the Western Conference playoff rounds.
James Harden led with 36 points and 13 assists, while his new sparring partner Russell Westbrook added 18 and also eight rebounds.
The main difference here was how many scorers they had, with Paul Tucker also managing 22 in their convincing 129-112 win.
The Rockets led from the first quarter and never really looked like conceding their lead, and now Harden seems to be finding his range once again.
He was poor in the first games, hitting only 17 of 79 on all his threes, but now he is in for 13 out of the last 32, which is almost doubling his accuracy in just these recent games
Harden now has 292 points in the first eight games, a record last bettered by Michael Jordan back in 1988-89 with 303.
He could be on his way to another record-shattering season.
Words: Noah Hart