Kurtenbach: The simple truth behind the Warriors’ Game 1 win


Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) congratulates teammate Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) after a basket during the third quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Monday, May 14, 2018. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets 119-106. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

HOUSTON — It wasn’t the Warriors’ best game.

Far from it, in fact.

But the Warriors have Kevin Durant on their roster, so they won Game 1 of their much-anticipated Western Conference Finals series with the Houston Rockets 119-106 Monday.

Is that a simplistic explanation? Of course.

But, frankly, you don’t have to overthink the Warriors’ Game 1 win.

The Rockets might have a couple of superstars and future Hall of Famers in Chris Paul and James Harden, and they might have entered the series with home-court advantage, but they don’t have anyone who can guard Durant one-on-one, and the Warriors exploited that glaring mismatch time and time again, all the way to a victory.

The Rockets couldn’t double-team Durant — lest he pass the ball to a wide-open and nearly-as-lethal teammate — and they couldn’t prevent a 7-footer with the ball handling skills of a point guard, the jumper of an elite shooting guard, and the height of a center from scoring 18 of his 37 points on mid-range jump shots.

All Houston could do was try to withstand the barrage and try to outscore an offense centered around an unstoppable offensive force.

Harden scored 41 points and the Rockets jumped out to an early lead in front of a raucous home crowd, but they faded late and the Warriors simply never stopped scoring.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni chalked up the Rockets’ loss to “mental mistakes” — turnovers, poor defensive switches, imprudent offensive judgment — and almost considered Durant being a phenomenon a constant.

“KD, he’s tough. Obviously, [he was] on tonight. You can live with that. You can’t live with that and make mental mistakes,” D’Antoni said.

And the combination of those two things?

“Devastating.”

Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant (35) congratulates teammate Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) after a basket during the third quarter of Game 1 of the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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