While the early playoff games were on this evening, a mystery was unfolding at the Warriors’ arena. Steph Curry had been listed as questionable for tonight’s Game 2 against the Rockets since he turned his ankle on Saturday, and there seemed to be genuine uncertainty about whether or not he’d play up until an hour before gametime. First came the ominous tweets. Then the acutely scrutinized warm-up routine. Finally, he was ruled out a little over an hour from the opening tip.
Thankfully, the Rockets are a big mess who can only ever play together as a unit for short stretches before they dissolve into a bickering mess. The Warriors didn’t need their talisman to dispatch the Rockets 115-106. Houston has as much talent as they did last year when they made the Western Conference Finals, but instead of their extra year together knitting them closer together, any semblance of chemistry has been shredded, and they play like they hate each other.
Across the aisle, Steph Curry’s replacement Shaun Livingston slotted in ably and the Warriors were just as cohesive without Curry’s intergalactic range. Golden State is as ruthless as anyone when they have a mismatch to exploit, and Livingston had an efficient 16 points on nine shots, many of which came off post-ups against the smaller Patrick Beverley.
But Livingston didn’t even have to run the point all that much because Draymond Green is more than capable of keeping the Warriors humming. The most telling play was the last of the first half, where Green (ostensibly the power forward) tossed an alley-oop to Livingston (ostensibly the point guard). When the Rockets brought the game within three in the fourth quarter, Green helmed an easy 11-1 run, after which the Rockets fragile chemistry shattered and the Warriors got to coast home.
Klay Thompson scored 34, Andrew Bogut frustrated the everliving daylights out of Dwight Howard, and Andre Igoudala was tremendous off the bench. Igoudala was right, it felt like a scrimmage at times, even if the Rockets kept it close for most of the game:
I hope that Steph Curry’s ankle is okay, since a Curry-less playoffs after the season he just had would be ultra cruel. If he was close to playing today and the Warriors rest him another few days, the ankle injury as it stands right now doesn’t seem like it’ll hold him out for too long. I don’t know what his team’s ceiling is without him, and I hope we never find out, but if that doomsday scenario comes around, the Warriors are still a damn good team.