Takeaways from Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals
Holy Mother of Houston Tex-Mex!
Takeaways from Game 5? I think I need another shower after that Thursday night thriller in H-Town. The Toyota Center was bedlam and every Rockets player except James Harden laid their life on the line for this win.
“I’ve Been Ready for this My Whole Life”: Chris Paul wants to beat the Warriors more than anyone has ever wanted anything. CP3 owned the 3rd quarter and single-handedly slayed the almighty Warriors with a barrage of uppercut three pointers. Though the Point God really only had 20 points and 4 threes, it felt like 40 and 8. His stare-down Steph Curry shoulder shimmy while running alongside Steph Curry wasn’t meant to be funny. Paul was saying, “I will lay waste to all you deem holy”...and it was spectacular.
The Toyota Center was ready to launch into orbit if only James Harden could hit a three pointer. While he worked on an iso move outside the arc, the entire cosmos knew that a trademark step-back 3 was coming. It was as if the NASA Space Center was starting the countdown “3-2-1” and had to kill the engine before ignition as Harden bricked his way to 0-11 from three and had a 37% usage rate on the way to 19 points. His 9-9 from the charity stripe and setting up a late Gordon 3 were his only highlights.
Maybe Harden needs a new afternoon routine. NBA players have long espoused the benefits of taking a nap before night games. Perchance he needs to change things up and take an earlier nap, apply some luxurious beard oils and then mainline twelve shots of espresso. Even Chris Paul took to dancing in front of Harden trying to make him wake the *#$% up. It didn’t work.
Gerald Green would literally play for free: The man went from his couch in Houston to raining threes and playing tenacious defense in one afternoon. With a roadmap of Houston iconography emblazoned upon his flesh and the damn Rockets logo weaved onto his pate--literally no player ever was happier to play for his hometown team.
In direct contrast, Ryan Anderson gets paid $20 million to not play.
The city’s mayor, the Honorable JJ Watt, was hulking it up courtside. Justin Timberlake genuinely seemed afraid that Watt might get overly hyped and inadvertently use a defensive lineman hook move and end the artist’s life. See, in Houston we don’t really have celebrities other than sports stars and rappers whose CD your momma wouldn’t let you buy back in the day. So Watt and JT were a big deal. [But I still listened to you, Geto Boys]
The Warriors got crossed over, knocked around and were straight up beat up. PJ Tucker plays defense like he caught Kevin Durant talking smooth to his sister.
Eric Gordon looks genuinely disgusted that people regard Klay as a better player *psst, EG has been better than Klay this series but don’t tell him yet*
Draymond doesn’t have a place on offense and when on the defensive end, the entire Rockets system rotates like a rubix cube until a guard gets isolated against a big. He is effectively neutralized on both end of the floor.
Steve Kerr is too cool. He truly expects his supersquad to suit up and vanquish the marauding Rockets. But Houston is too good to be afraid and too mad to even have the notion of losing. The winner of this series will have earned the banner they get to hang in the rafters.