Posted on May 20, 2018, by Travis Pulver

When you play the Golden State Warriors there is no room for error. You have to bring your ‘A’ game from beginning to end just to have a chance to win. There are no ‘slow starts’ or lapses of any kind—not if you want to win, that is.

The Houston Rockets did not bring their ‘A’ game in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals Sunday night. It wasn’t so much that they had a slow start or lapses during the game. They simply played poorly.

Via @PlayersTribune

“We played soft actually. You can’t do that against these guys.” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game (ESPN).

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It didn’t help that Steph Curry came back to life with 35 points including five three-pointers (5-12 from behind the arc). His 18-point third quarter effort helped the Warriors take a 21-point lead into the final quarter.

He only had nine points in the first half after shooting 3-11 from the floor and 1-7 from behind the arc.

“Somebody asked me, `Is Oracle tough to play?’ Yeah, because the Warriors play here,” D’Antoni said after the game (ESPN). “There’s a certain energy that their fans will give them and moments they hit two or three 3s you can get a buzz going that helps the home team. You just have to try to keep that crowd out as much as you can.”

Despite Curry missing five three-pointers in the first quarter, the Warriors were able to get out to a 31-22 lead after one. Houston put up a better fight in the second, but the Warriors were still able to extend their lead to 11-points, 54-43, at the half.

It had been a sloppy half for the Rockets. They were not playing defense at all and committed ten turnovers, a new high for one half of work in the postseason. It’s pretty hard to beat Golden State by giving them more opportunities to score.

But they were only down by 11; with how Houston can shoot three-pointers, that’s nothing. They just had to get on track in the second half and play better ball—but they didn’t. Instead, the Rockets let the Warriors start the quarter with a 10-0 run.

Not even two minutes into the second half and the lead had been extended to 21-points.

Houston got within 13 points in the third, but then Curry went off for 18 and the Warriors extended the lead to 21 heading into the fourth. The Rockets hardly appeared to try in the fourth as the Warriors outscored them by 20 points, 38-18, to make the final score 126-85.

Via @957thegame

It was the largest postseason win in Warriors history, the largest postseason loss in Rockets history, and the biggest loss by a team that had won 65-plus game in the regular season.

Steph Curry didn’t need much help, but he got plenty of it from his team. Kevin Durant chipped in 25 points. Draymond Green had a double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds. Klay Thompson added 13 and Andre Iguodala had 10 points.

James Harden led the way for Houston with 20 points followed by Chris Paul and Clint Capella with 13. Eric Gordon chipped in 11 off the bench.

Houston will not have a lot of time to lick their wounds. Game Four is Tuesday night starting at 9 PM ET.

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