Takeaways from Warriors’ Loss to Rockets

The Golden State Warriors can’t keep the same energy.

They have a nasty habit of forgetting to play with the same intensity and drive regardless of who is playing in front of them. They can only get up for matchups that matter, these days.

Before tipoff, the Warriors third match up with Houston Rockets mattered. The Warriors wanted James Harden. They’ve reportedly wanted to exact revenge ever since he hit the game winning dagger in the faces of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson a month ago.

However, It wasn’t meant to be. Harden sustained a neck strain, plus he’s been battling flu like symptoms, so Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni ruled him out. Naturally, the game was a let down for the Warriors.

And instantly, a trap game was born. The Warriors didn’t get the memo that the Rockets had players with pride. With fight. Without their leader in Harden, the Rockets’ supporting cast had something to prove, and they came to play. Meanwhile, Golden State disrespected them and themselves by going through the motions from tip off. You don’t spot anyone in the NBA a 15 point lead, let alone a playoff contender and Western Conference runner up. Here are some observations from the Warriors 112-118 loss to Houston.

It Starts with Preparation

After the game, Draymond Green admitted that the Warriors didn’t have a great practice yesterday.

If this is the case, it wouldn’t have mattered if Harden played. Why? Because practicing and playing are intertwined. You can’t have one without the other. If the practices are hard and purposeful, you play with that same energy. The same focus and purpose. Consequently, if your practices lack, you will lack on game day.

Too Much Boogie. Not Enough of Ball Movement

Early and often, Golden State tried to force feed DeMarcus Cousins on the block. The ensuing inefficiency made it clear that he’s still trying to find a consistent rhythm offensively. In the first half, Cousins struggled with easy and makable shots around the rim. If he wasn’t missing shots, he was getting into foul trouble and turning the ball over. This was potentially the game for Cousins to be a playmaker and run a steady diet of post splits for Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. That didn’t happen, but I do understand the need to feed Cousins and let him operate in the paint. However, when that’s not working, adapt. Cousins did not.

Oracle as a Bakery

Before the All-Star break, the Warriors were great in protecting and taking care of the basketball. Since then, the Warriors have committed 15-16 turnovers per game. Tonight, the Warriors coughed up the ball 17 times. Those mistakes didn’t go unpunished, as the opportunistic Rockets scored 25 points off of those turnovers.

No Hustle and No Defense

Chris Paul picked apart a lackluster Warriors defense in the first half with 11 assists and no turnovers. The Warriors didn’t bother to guard the perimeter and run PJ Tucker, Eric Gordon and Gerald Green off the line. Even Kenneth Faried was wide open from three. Not to mention the Warriors also coughed up 21 second chance points to the Rockets because they’ve failed to box out and struggled to secure the ball for rebounds. The Rockets simply outworked and out hustled a Golden State team that usually hustles and play solid and disciplined defense. Inexcusable and unacceptable.


For whatever reason, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr substitutes Quinn Cook for Curry close to the end of the first and third quarters. I’d like to call this the “Harlem Nights” lineup. For the unfamiliar among you, “Harlem Nights'” is a cult classic that featured comedic legends such as Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and a prime Eddie Murphy, about a team of gangsters running a nightclub in 1930s Harlem while contending with rivals and corrupt cops During the final third of the movie, Bennie (played by Foxx) gets into an argument with Vera (played By Della Reese) over a bottle of orange juice and tuna. Vera complained that Bennie drank all of the orange juice out of the bottle except for no more than a half of ounce. Bennie put the swallow of juice back into the fridge, which doesn’t make sense to Vera. NSFW

Pulling Curry at the end of the first and third for Cook is akin to putting orange juice back into the refrigerator with only a swallow or two left. Part of this rotation doesn’t make sense especially when Curry has the hot hand. It’s about as senseless as leaving Curry and Durant on the bench for extensive amounts of time. But Strength in Numbers though.

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