Warriors Utterly Dominate Rockets, Take 3-0 Series Lead in Western Conference Finals

By Vincent Frank

That was the Golden State Warriors team that most Bay Area fans were accustomed to during the regular season. Coming off two less-than-stellar performances in Oakland, the Warriors took a 2-0 series lead against the Rockets into Houston Saturday night.

They ended the night with a 3-0 lead after absolutely bullying James Harden and the Rockets by the score of 115-80. You read that right. The Warriors won by 35 in Houston.

The game wasn’t close from the start. Golden State opened up an 11-9 lead with about seven minutes remaining in the first. It wasn’t any closer than that as the game continued. The Warriors were up 30-18 after the first quarter before taking a 25-point lead into the half.

There isn’t much to break down from this game when it comes what transpired. The Warriors laid that old-fashioned beat down on the conference’s No. 2 seed. Stephen Curry scored 40 points on 19 shots in 35 minutes in an overwhelming performance. Draymond Green added 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Meanwhile, Andrew Bogut put up 10 points in the opening stanza en route to putting up yet another double-double (12 points and 12 boards).

The stats were not nearly as friendly for the home team. Coming off a stellar Game 2 performance, James Harden was absolutely atrocious throughout the game. He shot 3-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-11 from inside the three-point range. Even though Klay Thompson had played decent defense against Harden in the first two games, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr decided to switch it up early. He put Harrison Barnes on Harden early on, adding some length on the defensive side.

Overall, the Rockets shot 33.7 percent from the field, including 5-of-25 from beyond the arc. They also turned the ball over 15 times and shot just 19-of-31 from the charity stripe.

For all intents and purposes, this series is over:

In fact, only three teams have forced a Game 7 after falling down 3-0 in a playoff series.

For Curry’s part, he’s been utterly dominating in the series. Through three games, he’s averaging 35.7 points and is shooting .613 from the field, including .581 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Draymond Green continues to up his game to near-elite status. He’s averaging 14.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists on the series.

Game 4 will be in Houston on Monday night. If the Rockets are able to pull off a win, they will force a Game 5 in Oakland Wednesday night.

News & Notes

Curry now has five-plus three pointers in five consecutive playoff games. That’s an NBA record. Also a record, Curry surpassed Reggie Miller’s record for most three pointers in single-season playoff history.

Golden State is now 11-2 in the postseason. Its average margin of victory in those 11 wins stands at 12.5 points per game.

Golden State out-rebounded the Rockets 60-39 in Game 3.

Dwight Howard tallied 14 points and 14 rebounds. Meanwhile, the duo of Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli tallied 22 points and 18 boards for the Warriors.

Photo: USA Today Sports