WCF Game 3 Takeaways: He's Back!
So uh…the Warriors are really good. They just won a game in the Western Conference Finals by 41 points. This series was supposed to be the de facto NBA Finals, and the Warriors just stole the Rockets soul. They saw what the Cavaliers did to the Celtics the night before and said, “Hold my beer.” People that watch the NBA are prone to overreacting after every game, so we went from “Warriors are sweeping” after Game 1 to “Houston’s taking it to 7” after Game 2 to just “THE F***ING WARRIORS!!! AHHHDKJDKFJD”. It honestly seems like the games have been getting worse as the playoffs have progressed. At this rate, the Warriors are going to win Game 3 of the Finals by 80 points, and the NBA is going to just install a mercy rule and hand them the title right then and there.
WARDELL STEPHEN CURRY II (Did you know that was his first name? Did you know that was Dell Curry’s first name?!)
Speaking of overreactions, earlier in the series Steph Curry was getting crucified in the media with many claiming that he was still bothered by his knee injury. Well if Games 1 and 2 were his Good Friday, then yesterday was Easter Sunday because HE’S RISEN FROM THE DEAD (or at least you would have thought so with how Oracle arena was reacting). After struggling for two and half games, Curry caught fire in the third quarter of Game 3 with 18 points en route to 35 points for the game. We all knew it was a matter of time before Curry got right. Kevin Durant is always going to get his. But when Curry is hitting 30-footers and getting to the rim at will, the Warriors are literally unbeatable. (Just ask Wardell whose house it is.)
Kevon Looney is going to get paid this offseason.
Any time you talk about the Warriors, their blistering offense usually dominates the conversation. But what makes them truly special is their defense. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala get a lot of the attention when it comes to their defense, but Kevon Looney has morphed himself into an extremely valuable defender. Eric Gordon and Luc Mbah a Moute are probably having nightmares about Looney tonight. He’s shown the ability to contain guards on the perimeter on switches as well as recover to protect the rim.
Looney is exactly the type of versatile defender that teams covet nowadays to implement the super switchy defenses that thrive against the increasingly perimeter-oriented NBA. He’s earned 20.6 minutes a night on a stacked Warriors team. Golden State declined his 2.2 million-dollar option for next year at the beginning of the season, so some other team is likely to give Looney a handsome raise based on his play this postseason.
Chris Paul isn’t at full strength.
While everyone was clamoring about Steph’s knee, perhaps it’s another star guard’s health we should be focused on. Chris Paul injured his lower leg in Game 2, and he just didn’t seem right in Game 3. He scored just 13 points on 5-16 shooting while also getting torched by Curry on multiple possessions during Curry’s third quarter outburst. Paul is eager to dispel the notions that he can’t get it done in the playoffs. To do so, he’ll have to enable the Point God mode that allowed him to drop 41 and 10 in the clinching game against the Jazz. The Rockets have a tough enough time winning when their role players aren’t hitting threes. But if Chris Paul isn’t helping to ease the pressure off of them and Harden, the Rockets have no chance in this series. Here’s hoping Paul can get right sooner rather than later, or the series will get worse before it gets better for the Rockets.