Round 3, Game 1: Warriors 110, Rockets 106

This one was a little too close for comfort. The Dubs fell way behind in the first half, went on a scintillating 25-6 run to take the lead at halftime, then tried but failed to shake the Rockets for most of the 3rd and 4th quarters. Every time it seemed like the home team was about to pull away, James Harden would hit some ridiculous shot. He showed the whole arsenal last night: three-pointers, sweet layups that kissed off the glass, and pull-up jumpers that swished. He made Klay Thompson, generally considered one of the best defenders in the NBA, look like a child trying to guard an adult. The man can ball.

But so can Steph Curry, who notched 34 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists without apparent effort. I mean obviously he was working hard out there; but when he gets it rolling, he looks so smooth that it just seems perfectly natural. Steph got a big assist from Shaun Livingston, who had 16 points in the first half when the Warriors needed them desperately.

The Nation finally breathed a sigh of relief when the W’s went on a frantic, seemingly back-breaking 11-0 run to go up 108-97 with two minutes left. Then we started hyperventilating as the Dubs repeatedly turned the ball over and the lead dwindled. I was pacing around Sidelines looking at every screen in turn, hoping that on one of them the game would be over. The Rockets got to within 2 when Trevor Ariza hit a 3 at the :16 mark; but then Chef Curry got the ball, got fouled, and of course hit the shots, and that was that.

The series can go two ways from here. In one scenario, the Rockets are actually this good, and we get a competitive series that goes 6 or 7 games. In the other, the Warriors shake off the somnolence that seemed to affect them at times yesterday, make a few adjustments, and dominate in the next three games. This may depend in part on the health of Dwight Howard, who couldn’t do much last night after teammate Josh Smith rolled on his knee; then again the Rockets actually looked better with Howard off the floor, so who knows.

We’ll find out starting tomorrow night at about 6:12 PDT.

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