How The Rockets Can Upset The Warriors
(originally written 4/27/16)
Game 5 of our Golden State Warriors' first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets begins shortly, and as you may have heard, GS will be minus a very crucial component of their offense. The absence of the great Wardell Stephen Curry II didn't hurt the Warriors in Game 2, nor did it in the second half of Game 4 (if anything, it INSPIRED the team in the latter case.)
I'm not concerned about Curry's absence affecting the outcome of this series. In fact, the NBA itself admitted it should already be over; James Harden shoved off on his winning Game 3 jumper. (Imagine a similar statement from the league office after Game 6 of the 1998 Finals...do you have balls that big? Cuz I don't.)
Next to New Orleans, Houston may have been the league's biggest disappointment this year, going from Western Conference finalists to barely squeaking into the postseason 12 months later (with the same roster). Among their 41 regular-season losses were three to the Warriors (one of which Curry sat out), to whom they've never given due credit or proper respect.
It will be harder to bring the Rockets down without Curry, but make no mistake—the Rockets will go down. It might not be tonight (yeah, right) but barring further freakishness, there is as much chance of seeing Houston in the second round as there is of seeing Whitney Houston cheering them on once they get there.
About that freakishness...
I've decided to list what circumstances would be required for the Warriors to be defeated by the Rockets in this year's NBA playoffs. Here they are, in no particular order:
⦁ In Game Five, Dwight Howard goes one step further than Donatas Motiejunas and pees all over the court. Klay Thompson slips in it and tears his ACL.
⦁ Draymond Green finally earns that 16th and decisive technical—and two more—for criticizing ref Haywoode Workman over the superfluous "E" in his name, drawing a suspension.
⦁ Exercising poor judgment, Andrew Bogut responds to a rumor of his mom carrying on an affair with Patrick Beverley by breaking a 2x4 over Bev's head, triggering a long suspension.
⦁ Harrison Barnes re-breaks his nose when he falls after Jason Terry ties his shoelaces together at the foul line.
⦁ One of Festus Ezeli's missed free throws clangs so hard back in his face, that he's left comatose.
⦁ Someone tells Shaun Livingston how much better he looked with his old braids. He responds by missing the rest of the series sitting through the tedious process to restore them.
⦁ Before Game Five, Roz Gold-Onwude asks Andre Iguodala "What's your strategy tonight?" Andre's overly-insightful, overly-detailed answer drags on for literally six days, by which time the series has ended. (Note: Roz is still standing there smiling, however.)
⦁ Marreese Speights, for about the 20th time this year, tries to dunk as hard as humanly possible when a simple, quick flush would do. He reaches so far back that his shoulder locks in the "cocked" position and can't be moved. (His face also freezes in its position, proving generations of moms retroactively correct.) He's out for the series.
⦁ Ian Clark laughs so hard after the above incident, he pulls several vital muscles and cannot take the court.
⦁ The two Brazilians, Leandro Barbosa and Anderson Varejao, are overheard by idiot cops conversing in Portuguese, and arrested for everything from 9/11 to the Madoff scheme. (They also reportedly call the cops "poo-poo heads", but their lawyer is able to get that charge dropped.)
⦁ After working so hard to resurrect his career, someone reminds guard/forward Brandon Rush that he's Kareem Rush's brother. Devastated by the memory, Brandon immediately loses all confidence, and misses the remainder of the series sobbing in a corner of the Warriors' practice facility.
⦁ Prior to Game Five, a fan repeatedly calls James McAdoo "James Scooby-Doo". Each time, McAdoo gives him a very un-Scooby-like growl in response. Unfortunately, James had leftover shaving cream on his face at the time, and looks a bit wild naturally. So security believes he's gone mad foaming at the mouth, and removes him before he can bite anyone.
⦁ Kevon Looney, the last Warrior standing, is ready to take on the Rockets all by himself. But the coaching staff deliberately gives him bad directions and the wrong start time, feeling that at this point in the health-challenged rookie's career, the Warriors have a better chance of beating Houston with no players instead of him.
If all of the above takes place, the Rockets have a real shot at a major upset.
I'm personally not concerned. (Besides, James McAdoo never shaves!)
Let's go, Warriors!