Durant's fuels Warriors over Rockets

Lawrence Cooper
May 15, 2018

Kevin Durant led the Golden State Warriors to a 119-106 victory over the Houston Rockets in their opening game of the Western Conference finals.

You might be able to get away with it in next round against a team like the Utah Jazz, when you lose home-court advantage in Game 2, but are are once again clearly the superior team and win three straight games to squash that challenge.

'This is why anybody would want him on their team.

"For us, we're gonna look at the film and a lot of it we already know; we've just got to do it better, because obviously they make you pay when you make mistakes". "We've put together a solid run, we want to continue to be greedy and go after more and it's a fun way to play so we got a good thing going".

The fact that they were starting this series away from the friendly confines of Oracle Arena for the first time during their recent run did nothing to shake their belief in themselves.

"We come into this series, we don't post stuff on the wall saying [the Rockets are] obsessed with us", Warriors forward Draymond Green said.

The highly-anticipated Western Conference Finals meeting between the two sides finally took place Monday at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, with both sides delivering an exciting first-half performance with the game tied at 56-56 at halftime. I think that's important, he only had one turnover in the game.

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"He needs about 55 next time, and that would take care of it", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni quipped. The Warriors knew it coming into the series, but the Rockets found out first hand on Monday that there's simply no adjustment or scheme change that an opposing team can implement to stop Durant - save perhaps for a collective prayer that he misses shots in bunches. "We just got to be a little better". "There were too many times where we had mental lapses. You can't live with that and make mental mistakes", D'Antoni said.

Durant poured in 37 points, while Klay Thompson added 28 - including six three-pointers - as the reigning National Basketball Association champions drew first blood at Toyota Center.

It's exactly what the Warriors did to Houston, with Paul and Harden running down the shot clock every single possession.

While Durant served as a midrange gunner, recording three rebounds and one assist, Thompson scorched Houston from the perimeter, hitting 6 of 15 3-point attempts.

Durant added two free throws to close out the quarter and leave the Warriors up 87-80 entering the fourth. The Warriors are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Houston, 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings and the road team is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings. They are always in the game with 3-point shots. "They made good shots", he said.

Harden has been spectacular in all of the Rockets' series openers this postseason, scoring 41 points in Game 1 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 44 points in Game 1 against the Utah Jazz and 41 points against the Warriors.

Green added two blocks and two steals to anchor the Golden State defense.

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