HOUSTON - It started with a bang. The Rockets surged out of the gate, riding the energy of the crowd and taking a 23-14 lead. But when it was over, the Warriors had imposed their will. Despite a sensational performance from James Harden, who scored 41 points with 4 rebounds and 7 assists, the defending champs took the home court advantage away from the Rockets with a 119-106 win in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors controlled the tempo and made things tough on the Rockets defensively. On the other side of the ball, the Rockets had no answer for Kevin Durant, who torched them for 37 points.
The Warriors did exactly what one would expect the defending champions to do. Draymond Green shoved James Harden 67 seconds into the game and drew a technical foul. In hindsight, it seems like a calculated move; one designed to send an early message.
But it is just one game.
The Rockets aren’t about to throw in the towel after one punch.
Nothing tests character like adversity. This is where the Rockets will have to prove they’re worthy of being a champion. Game 2 is Wednesday night.