HOUSTON — Two days ago, the Warriors took control of Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets with a stifling defense in a Game 1 victory.

It took 48 hours to undo those efforts, as they delivered one of their worst defensive performances of the postseason.

In Thursday’s 127-105 loss in Game 2, the Warriors gave up 51 percent from the field, allowing role players P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza, and Eric Gordon to combine for 68 points. That supplemented the outputs of Rockets guards James Harden (27 points on 9 for 24 from the field) and Chris Paul (16 points on 6-for-14 shooting).

On Wednesday, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who oversees the iso-heavy offense led by Paul and Harden, didn’t back down from their plan after the Warriors’ Game 1 win.

“That’s what we do best,” D’Antoni said. “We are who we are and we’re pretty good at it and we can’t get off who we are. Embrace it. Just be better at who we are.”

The philosophy worked, as the Rockets blew the game open in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 38-29, pushing their lead to as high as 29 points.

“They made shots,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “We were just a step slow on our rotations and our switches. Guys got into the paint. We know their M.O. is isolation, trying to get dribble drives, get the ball in the paint. The difference between Game 1 and Game 2 is they were finding guys on the wings and corners.”

Said Warriors coach Steve Kerr: “I just think this game was a matter of the Rockets bringing the force that’s necessary to win a game, and we didn’t. We had seven turnovers, I think, in the first quarter. We set the tone early with our own play and allowed them to get some confidence …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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