Mike D’Antoni was understandably upset with his Houston Rockets after they were walloped by the Golden State Warriors Sunday night in Game 3, who blew out their Western Conference Finals foe by 41 points.
After that game, D’Antoni made headlines when he said his players “played soft.”
“It’s just one thing led to another,” D’Antoni said. “Played soft, actually. I mean, you can’t do that with these guys. These guys are good. If you want points, you have to play well. We didn’t make shots early, we turned it over.”
Well, two days later, the Rockets went back into Oracle Arena and gutted out an incredible three-point win, pulling even in the series and halting a 16-game home winning streak by the Warriors in the process.
Not surprisingly, D’Antoni was ready to detract his “soft” comments after Tuesday night’s game.
Mike D'Antoni on the Rockets: "They're not soft, and they proved it. I misspoke."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 23, 2018
No doubt, coach.
Nobody could possibly call the Rockets soft after watching them pull out the gritty road win Tuesday night. In particular, what James Harden did in this game was as far from soft as it gets (watch here).
D’Antoni also lauded his team’s defensive effort in a big way.
Mike D'Antoni: "This is the highest level we played defensively."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 23, 2018
Golden State was held to just 12 points in that final quarter, hitting on just 3-of-18 shots, which was the worst fourth-quarter showing of the year. And Houston deserves a ton of credit for that.
Now both teams are heading back to Houston for a pivotal Game 5, knotted up at 2-2 in this suddenly compelling series.