Rockets 106, Warriors 119 - Annihilation

By Forrest Walker on May 14, 2018






This series isn't over. Even with the Houston Rockets falling to the Golden State Warriors in game one, there's a lot of basketball to be played in the Western Conference Finals, and it's important not to overreact to a single game. The Rockets may have lost, and with it lost the home court advantage they worked to hard to gain, but they will have a chance to respond in game two on Wednesday and try to sort out their issues. And, no pressure or anything, but the only thing riding on their next game is just the fate of the NBA. This series is a test, and the Rockets are teetering dangerously close to annihilation.

This is what the Kevin Durant era Golden State Warriors bring.Where once was a transformative and impossible team now stands a monolith that serves only to negate all other matter in the universe. They bring annihilation in that their effect is to render everything else meaningless, to wring joy and purpose from the rest of the NBA merely by existing. In this series, they have a chance to annnihilate perhaps more than they ever have before, and are now one massive step closer.

There was, also, a basketball game. James Harden was amazing. Clint Capela was good enough to stay on the floor. Chris Paul was mediocre and the rest of the Rockets team were wretched. Gerald Green probably shouldn't hit the floor again. Ryan Anderson maybe should. Nene was predictably abused, and Eric Gordon continues to mutate into some sort of plant person wandering off into the woods. There are adjustments to be made, and fouls to avoid. This is a playoff series, after all, not a treatise on life and purpose.

Well, that's the hope, because if it is, it's so far a pretty depressing one. Steph Curry looked a step slow, but Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson tore into the Rockets and left them destroyed in an unknown location in the woods. The Warriors may be on the road, but they are the massive favorites for a good reason. The Rockets got off to a hot start and fought back at every turn, but were unable to get close enough, even though they sure threatened to, over and over.

All of that regular season prowess, all of that unusually raucous home crowd, all of those 41 points on 24 shots for Harden, all of it was as nothing. It only took the Warriors one quarter to turn a tie game to a double-digit lead, and then another to finish the Rockets off. In a mere 24 game minutes, the Rockets were brought back to zero, playing for their lives on the road as is every team against the Golden State Warriors.

None of this proves that the Rockets are not a historically great team, or that they were a fraud. No, what's at stake is far, far worse. This is not repudiation, it is negation. If the Rockets are simply not good, there's hope for some other team to upstage the Warriors. Instead, if the Rockets are this good and simply annihilated, every other team is annihilated with them. If a tremendous and terrifying 65-win team is not enough to defeat the malicious funhouse mirror they find them against, what hope, then, for the rest of the league.

I don't have an answer for that. Maybe there isn't one. All I can say is that we'd damn well better hope the Rockets tighten their defensive rotations in game 2.

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