I haven't watched a scary movie since I was seven. There was one scene in one movie that so scarred me that if a film has ghosts or zombies or aliens or Japanese kids, I'll pass. The movie was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and it was the heart scene. You know the scene. Indy, Shorty, and Willie were hiding behind a rock formation toward the back of the temple. They watched as a man was brought before the high priest and placed into a cage. The high priest said a few words, and sliced into the man's chest with his bare hand and removed his heart. The high priest raised up the heart and the man in the cage was lowered into a lava pit. As the man's body burned, so did his heart in the high priest's hand. The temple worshippers went wild. I fainted.
No, a lion-hearted child, I was not. But nearly 30 years later, as I watched that scene play out on TV again last night, I turned to my 2-year old nephew, Jubin, and said, "Don't turn away. Keep watching." He's only 2, so he looked at me and then went right back to navigating through his mom's smartphone, as 2-year olds can apparently do. But if he watched, he'd have seen the poor Rockets brought before Steph as he tore through their chests and ripped out their hearts and watched it burn as Klay and Dray and Iggy and Bogut and Co. slowly lowered the Rockets into molten lava. While Warriors worshippers went wild in the Bay, mothers and fathers all over Houston had to hug their weeping children to sleep.
Houston, you have a problem.
You were unfortunate to lose two very, very close games in the most inhospitable arena in the NBA. Down 2-0, you know Game 3 is an absolute must-win. Thankfully you're back in the friendly confines of your home-court in front of your own fans. You're supposed to win Game 3 handily, eek out a gutsy win in Game 4, and travel back to the Roaracle having made this a real series, tied at 2-2. You're NOT supposed to close the first quarter down by 12. You're NOT supposed to end the first half down by 25. You're NOT supposed to shoot .337 from the field, .200 from 3-point land. James Harden is NOT supposed go 3-16. How in the world did you lose a must-win, 115-80?! Oh, 6'3, 185 lbs Steph Curry boxed out 6'11, 240 lbs Dwight Howard for the re? Got it.
I hate close games. Spare me the suspense, the nervous tension, the stress. Give me a blowout so I can be happy and enjoy my chicken wings and beer. I feel the same way about a 7-game series. I much preferred the Giants' 2012 sweep of the Tigers over the 2014 7th game win over the Royals. Yes, the latter had more Madison, but the former had fewer ulcers. That's a good thing. Look, I know these Rockets were only the ninth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the last series against the Clippers, but exactly ZERO teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit. It is simply impossible to win 4 straight do-or-die games against an NBA playoff caliber team. And to do so against this Warriors team? Yeah, exactly. I'm not saying this series is over, but this series is over.
Houston, shhhh. Just close your eyes. It'll all be over soon.
Everyone says Steph plays like a video game with a cheat code. Here's why:
- Steph has made 63% of his shots outside of 17 feet in this Western Conference Finals.
- Steph in the WCF so far: 37 minutes per game, 35.7 points per game, 6 assists per game, 61% FG, 6 made 3s per game, 77.5% true shooting.
- Steph has hit five or more 3-pointers in five consecutive playoff games. No other player in NBA history has done that.
- Steph has made 91% of the 3-pointers he's attempted from the left corner this postseason.
- Steph had 18 uncontested 3-point shots against the Rockets this series. He made 15 of them.
- In 1999/2000, Reggie Miller played in 22 playoff games and set the record for the most single post-season 3s at 58. Steph broke that record last night and has 64 so far in this post-season--in 13 games.
It's not hype. It's not hyperbole. It's history.
Western Conference Finals: Warriors lead series, 3-0
Game 1: Rockets 106, Warriors 110
Game 2: Rockets 98, Warriors 99
Game 3: Warriors 115, Rockets 80
Game 4: Monday, May 25 at Houston, 6 PM (ESPN)
Game 5: Wednesday, May 27 at Golden State, if necessary
Game 6: Friday, May 29, at Houston, if necessary
Game 7: Sunday, May 31 at Golden State, if necessary