If you're younger than 39, something happened last night for the first time in your life: The Golden State Warriors played in the Western Conference Finals. And they won.

We all give respect to playoff teams. It's the post-seasony thing to do because the playoffs are "serious business" and no one wants to make too bold of a prediction because, sure, "anything can happen." Whatever. The Warriors were never going to lose to the Pelicans. The Warriors were never going to lose to the Grizzlies. That's not arrogance, that's science. Look it up. No one said it would be easy, but everyone said the Warriors would make it, and they did.

The other team, though. That was up for grabs. The Spurs, the Clippers, the Rockets. You knew the team that emerged from that side of the Western playoff bracket would be worthy, and yep, they are. Ladies and gentlemen, the Houston Rockets. The number 2 seed to the Warriors' number 1. Their James Harden was the runner-up to our Steph Curry's MVP award. They shot the most 3s in the regular season and made the most 3s. The Warriors had the highest percentage of 3s made. Warriors fans may have wanted the chance to serve up a cold dish to the Clippers (sorry Clips, but six NBA-level players won't get you to the Conference Finals), but this was the match-up that had to happen to declare the best in the West.

And for the first quarter and a half of the game, it was the Rockets. The first five minutes of the first quarter were tit-for-tat, but then the Rockets got greedy and took two and only gave one, and by the middle of the second quarter, the Warriors were down by 16 points, 49-33. The Rockets did this by destroying the Warriors in the paint, scoring 20 points at or near the rim in this stretch. By getting penetration, the Rockets got Andrew Bogut into early foul trouble and got him sent to the bench. Turned out, this was a good thing. For the rest of the quarter, the Warriors went super small, with Steph, Klay, Livingston, Barnes, and Draymond on the court. They were small, they swarmed, they switched, and they went on a 25-6 run the rest of the way, ending the half up by three, 58-55. This is where we give a shout out to Shaun Livingston, who scored 16 points in the first half, going 5-of-6 from the field and made all 6 of his free throws. Damn.

In the second half, James Harden led the charge for the Rockets, scoring 21 of his 28 points in the final two quarters. The Rockets were finally able to close the gap midway through the 4th quarter, but the Warriors immediately responded by going on an 11-0 run and taking the clock down to two minutes. The Rockets punched back with a 9-0 run of their own in the final two minutes, before Steph snuffed them out with the final two points of the game.

This Was Weird

A huge portion of James Harden's paycheck is made at the free throw line. In the regular season, he lead the association in both free throw attempts and free throws made, and it wasn't even close. He is the kung-fu jedi master of drawing a foul. He will dribbledribbledribble, drive, and then he becomes a Dutch soccer player shot by a sniper. Oh my God, is he dead?!?! No, just give him two free throws and he'll be fine. But last night, Harden went to the line only three times. Good. Continue to swallow your whistles, refs.

This Was Also Weird

Klay Thompson didn't play that well! True, he's responsible for guarding Harden, and he did a pretty good job at that, all things considered, but man! Klay didn't look too hot on the offensive side of things, did he? Klay played both sides of the court well against Harden and the Rockets in the regular season, and he's bound to get back to form in this series. If Klay is gonna have an off-night, it's best that it happened in a win at home.

The Breaks

Ouch. If you're a Rockets' fan, 1) why are you reading this, 2) sucks about Dwight Howard! Midway through the first quarter, Houston's Josh Smith fell onto Dwight Howard's legs, injuring Howard's left knee. As of right now, Howard is officially questionable for Game 2. That sucks--if you're a Rockets fan! Or if you're a noble, honorable Warriors fan who wants to see the best players from both sides on the court in a fair fight. That's all of us, right? under-the-table-fist-bump.


Steph's shot is to pretty what Steph's daughter is to adorable. That is to say, very. Look at her! She told him to be quiet!!! I die.

Western Conference Finals: Warriors lead series, 1-0

Game 1: Rockets 106, Warriors 110
Game 2: Thursday, May 21 at Golden State, 6 PM (ESPN)

Game 3: Saturday, May 23 at Houston, 6 PM (ESPN)
Game 4: Monday, May 25 at Houston, 6 PM (ESPN)

Game 5: Wednesday, May 27 at Golden State, 6 PM (ESPN) if necessary

Game 6: Friday, May 29 at Houston, 6 PM (ESPN) if necessary

Game 7: Sunday, May 31 at Golden State, 6 PM (ESPN) if necessary