When Houston Rockets’ guard Patrick Beverley got into Stephen Curry’s airspace on Saturday, only 1 of 2 things would happen. The Rockets would pay dearly for challenging the record-breaking Golden State Warriors, or the Rockets would play inspired basketball in Game 1 of the Western Conference first round series against the defending champions.
Well, Beverley came, he saw, and got conquered during a scintillating first half by the soon to be two time NBA MVP. Curry responded to an early double technical foul with Beverley to score 16 first quarter points. The Rockets only had 15 after 12 minutes of action. By the time the massacre was over, the final score was 104-78.
After his usual six minute layoff, Curry came back in the game and added eight second quarter points to finish with 24 points at halftime. He never scored again for the Warriors. The biggest play of the game may have come on the defensive end by Curry.
During a one-on-one match up with James Harden, Curry stripped last year’s MVP runner-up and lofted a slightly off target pass for another easy basket for the Warriors‘ Andre Iguodala. It was the last meaningful play Curry made all day. The play pushed the lead to 56-30 and Curry was out on the next dead ball.
Unfortunately, he twisted his ankle on the play and came up hobbled. Curry was in the lineup to start the second half, but only played three minutes. He never returned to the lineup and it robbed the fans of some more dazzling moments. The good news is his ankle is not expected to keep him out of Monday’s game, but it is “mildly concerning,” according to CBS Sports. For a team with NBA title aspirations, Curry’s presence is a must.
After exploding in the first half, the Warriors only scored 44 second half points. They only shot 43 percent from the field, leaving the door open for a comeback in the third quarter, but the 29 point deficit was too large to overcome. Instead of a brilliant offensive performance, the Warriors locked down defensively most of the game.
As a team, the Rockets shot 35.7 percent from the field. They were dreadful from 3-point range, making 6 of 22 shots and only made 12 of 24 shots from the free throw line. More importantly, Harden didn’t attempt a single foul shot in the game. The Warriors held him to a woeful 17 points on 7 of 19 shooting.
For the Warriors, the usual suspects made an appearance. Klay Thompson added 16 points, but still had a rough shooting night, making 4 of 14 field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Draymond Green produced 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Marreese Speights led the bench with 12 points. Overall, the Warriors had 11 players score. They also had 26 assists in their Game 1 rout.
As of now, Curry is questionable to play in Monday’s game due to the ankle injury. If he’s unable to play, his absence changes the series on a multitude of levels.