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Revisiting Game 48: Warriors Severely Outgunned at Houston Rockets

The Warriors 140-109 loss at Houston on Tuesday will be remembered largely for this quote.

MARK JACKSON: “I’m an old school basketball player and an old school coach. If you can’t appreciate that, that’s on you. We’re not going to lay down. If you’re going to try to get the record, we’re going to stop it.”

 

Only problem is, the Warriors were all but helpless to stop the first 23, which tied the record for most 3-pointers in the game.

Golden State had its four-game win streak snapped in embarrassing fashion. But at least they didn’t give up an NBA record for most 3-pointers in a game. The Warriors certainly did everything they could to prevent the Rockets from draining that 24th 3-pointer. They recklessly contested all threes. They committed hard fouls on anyone who dared hoist from deep.

In the final minute, with the game way out of reach, they twice committed intentional fouls, prompting boos form the remaining fans at the Toyota Center. But the damage was already done. The Warriors were drubbed.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale:  “We just had to keep playing. I really didn’t even know we had a chance to break the record until late in the game. We shoot a lot of 3′s, that’s just what we do. If we were to get them in the flow, we were going to get them. Mark didn’t want it to happen and fouled and I didn’t have any problem with how they played. Mark’s got to coach his team, I have no problem with that.”

More on Tuesday’s defeat …

WRITER’S RANT: Clearly, Houston was hot. But the Rockets record-tying 3-point barrage falls on the Warriors defense. No doubt, making 17 of 21 from 3 is ridiculous. I half expected the ball to catch fire like on NBA Jam. But how did they get so comfortable? Why were they so open?

That’s because of the defensive scheme.

Golden State continuously gets itself in trouble by helping and doubling too much. Whenever they face an opponent who has a player really good at something, the Warriors overcompensate on defense, which makes it worst.

Houston got so many looks because the Warriors were bent on stopping the penetration of Harden and Lin. Never mind they can’t stop it anyway. But even if they could with help, it’s a questionable strategy.

1. It only opens it up for others, and everyone knows its worst to get the supporting cast going.

2. Isn’t that why you have Bogut? To protect the rim? To cover for the guards?

Curry and Klay routinely got caught sagging in the lanes, even after it was clear Houston was hot. After a while, the rotations became a joke. And they got outrebounded.

Whatever happened to just manning up. If your man beats you, he beats you. Swallow it and move on. Make Klay have to guard Harden one on one, then score over Bogut or Biedrins or Festus. And let Klay be the only helper, covering the pass to Bogut’s man.

Same with Curry guarding Lin, and with Lee guarding who ever.

Mike Montgomery used to say, and it’s true, you can switch all you want but at some point, someone has to guard his man. All that switching and helping just makes it harder to do what somebody has to do anyway, guard their man. Why not take that approach from the beginning. At least let a dude guy hot, show you he’s rolling, before you start opening up lanes and looks.

The Warriors are at their best when whoever is guarding the best players can do so alone. That’s why they switch Klay into the premier PGs. It messed everything up having to constantly help Curry. It not only opens lanes, but it provokes cheating inside and losing sight of your man.

I understand help is necessary. But it should be standard. Not, “we’re playing Harden tonight lets REALLY shut off the lane.”

Closing out hard is not good defense, it’s good recovery. Good defense is not having to close out so hard. Because you were there. Ready for your man to get the rock.

The Warriors caused that historic night. It was their defense that created the open shots that allowed Houston to get hot. And whatever gameplan that had them desperately looking to clog the paint and double the post needs to be scrapped.

MVP: Jarrett Jack

I almost ranted about the offense simply because the Warriors kept saying their offense was fine. It wasn’t fine. It wasn’t as bad as the defense, but it was hardly fine. Scoring 109 points against the Rockets’ defense isn’t fine.

With that said, Jack was the only player who seemed capable of answering Houston’s onslaught. Sometimes, your defense isn’t there. In those times, you just need to go right back at the opponent. The Warriors got rattled, rushed shots and lost their composure.

Except Jack. Lee wasn’t bad, but he didn’t look to take

MDP: Stephen Curry

He’s an easy target here because he was 3 of 12 shooting. I don’t think he played poorly. He did a great job of getting in the lane and creating shots, especially coming off an ankle injury. His shot wasn’t falling and he took some rushed shots in the second half that fueled the Rockets’ game-icing run.

The Warriors needed more from him on both ends, and he didn’t deliver.

KEY MOMENT I: The game was tied at 12 after Curry set up a Lee for a layup. But the Warriors defensive holes showed up.

Lin, as he does, got into the lane and set up a dunk for Omer Asik. After a missed 15-footer by Klay, Bogut blocked a layup from Harden. But Asik got it back and got the outback and the foul. He missed his free throw, but Houston got the rebound and, after a few passes, Harden was drilling a 3-pointer.

The Lee missed an 18-footer.

On the other end, Curry got sucked into the lane by a Harden drive and Lin drilled the open 3. The Warriors trailed 22-12. It was indicative of how the night would go

TELLING STAT: The Rockets’ 23 of 40 shooting from 3 is too obvious. Lets go with Houston’s 35 assists on 46 made baskets. It illustrates the way the Rockets toyed with the Warriors defense. They left Golden State scrambled and frantic with willing and crisp ball movement. Chandler Parsons had 8 assists. James Anderson had 4 assists. Patrick Patterson had. 3. They were just whipping the ball around.

YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: “Honestly, I don’t think we did anything wrong. We played basketball the way we played for 48 minutes. I think they let the crowd get to their head a little bit. It happens. It’s competitive out there. Nobody wants to get a record or whatever on them.” — Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, who also delivered this clever tweet after the game:

 

KEY MOMENT II: After the Rockets made 14 of 18 from 3 in the first half, the logical thinking was they couldn’t keep it up.

CURRY: “You’d figure they cool off just a little bit. But we have to force them to hit tough shots. Can’t just give them open looks. … It gets pretty ugly really fast if you don’t do anything about it.”

And after Lee opened the third quarter with a turnaround bank over Patterson, the Warriors were down 13 and a run away from taking control.

But Golden State got caught up in the 3-point hype after doing damage in the paint (28 points) in the first half. Barnes and Curry missed 3s in consecutive possessions.

That was followed by a traveling violation from Lee, another missed 3 by Curry, an offensive foul by Klay and missed short jumpers by Bogut on consecutive possessions.

After that, Curry and Barnes missed a midrange jumper before Curry eventually drove and set up a layup for Barnes. That snapped a 4-minute drought by the Warriors. Eight possessions, seven shots, two turnovers, one offensive rebound.

Oh, by the way, during that span, the Rockets pushed their lead to 23, getting 2 3-pointers and two layups.

COACHES CORNER: Not a good night for Mark Jackson and the bench. Punctuated by his “old school coach” line.

Their gameplan was a big reason 8 Rockets scored in double-figures. They overreacted to Houston’s penetration and it cost the Warriors big time.

But where was the adjustment? Usually, the Warriors come out in the second half with some tweaks. How is it after the first half shooting spree the Warriors were still aggressively packing the paint? Where was the three-quarters court pressure to show the Rockets a new look and force turnovers. Houston, a high TO team, had just nine.

Where was the hack-a- Patterson defense to slow the game down and throw off the Rockets rhythm?

But where Jackson really went wrong was fouling intentionally at the end. I get the message behind it and applaud it. Don’t let another team embarrass you. No doubt. But it’s much more credible when you do it with defense. Why not tell them to face guard everyone the whole way? No help? That’s old school. Having to intentionally foul to stop a 3 is embarrassing yourself. The hard foul on anyone who tries to take a 3 is much more old school than fouling 80 feet from the basket. That’s like crying uncle or begging for mercy.

But Jackson is a feel coach and he felt his team was being disrespected, so he responded. That goes over well in a locker room, even if the execution is off. To a man, the players seemed to respect that Jackson was standing up for them.

SERIOUSLY?!: Patrick Beverly, with the Warriors desperately trying to prevent a 3, gets an easy lane to the basket. He dunks it.

But then he turns to the Warriors bench and stares as he ran down court.

Really?

Never mind he was juiced about a dunk with a minute left in a. 30-point blow out. I would be juiced too. But its not like the Warriors were trying hard to stop it. He was way too hype over a freebie dunk. That’s like me celebrating a kiss from my wife.

JEREMY LIN: “The only thing I think we need to apologize for was just the reaction after the dunk. To be honest, that wasn’t totally classy on our behalf.”

KEY MOMENT III: After the Beverly taunt, Jackson told his players to foul. So when Beverly found himself open in the right corner, rookie forward Draymond Green closes out hard. Beverly pump-faked, allowing Green to fly by. But Green reached out and swiped at Beverly as he flew by, getting off a blow to the head. Green was given a flagrant 2 and ejected.

That prompted a minor exchange as Marcus Morris had words for Green. Morris wound up getting ejected, too.

After a long delay to check replay and shoot the technical foul free throws, it was Houston’s ball with 34.1 seconds left. Jackson ordered an intentional foul. Twice. Four free throws by Houston pushes their final total to 140.

The Warriors haven’t given up that much since November 2006

BEFORE YOU GO: Kent Bazemore has moved up in the rotation. He looked good on a couple of shots, but his stat line wasn’t impressive: 6 points, 2 of 8 FG, 2 of 6 FTs, 4 PFs.

Somehow, though, you get the sense he belongs on the floor.

Marcus Thompson

  • Sweatytaco

    Just like I said on CSNBayarea. If Jackson wanted to go old school. He should have had a couple of his guys lay down some lumber.
    That always sends an ‘old school’ message.

  • Niners in 2012

    Bogut hit JLin hard, made him bleed. Draymond got a flagarant. Thats not enough?

  • Third coaster

    I would expect more teams in the west to pour it on in the next few weeks after the All Star Snub comments that players on the Warriors made. Do they really want to see a motivated Clippers, Spurs, or Thunder? All of which play the same type of tempo as the Rockets and had players chosen to fill spots on the west all star squad.