The Golden State Warriors got pushed around Wednesday night. After Golden State looked unstoppable in Game 1, Houston came out with renewed fervor in Game 2. The Rockets won, 127-105, and held pretty much everyone other than Kevin Durant in check.
The Warriors' defense was the team's biggest issue. Houston's stars and role players alike exploded offensively. James Harden and Eric Gordon had 27 points apiece, P.J. Tucker had 22, Trevor Ariza had 19, and Chris Paul added 16. This explosion led to Tucker proclaiming the Rockets' small-ball lineup the best in the league—even better than the "Hamptons 5."
The Rockets consistently exploited Steph Curry and reserve guard Nick Young, both noted defensive liabilities. Asked about the team's defensive struggles after the game, Golden State's stars said the team just needs to play with more toughness.
"We just got to guard," Durant told ESPN's Chris Haynes. "They're making us play old-school one-on-one defense. We just got to guard and not foul. We got like three or four and-1s there in the third quarter from reaching in. We just got to guard and man up and see what happens."
Curry agreed, saying the team needs to play less "cute" and more aggressively on defense.
"We were trying to be too cute with our [defensive] exchanges and our switches and all that stuff instead of just manning up and playing one-on-one defense," Curry said. "Whether they score or not, as hard as we're working on the defensive end, they're working as hard on the offensive end to get shots up. That was the difference between Game 1 and Game 2. They made a concerted effort to turn those one-on-one situations into a little bit more ball movement, and we were just a step slow, myself included."
The Rockets hit 16 threes to the Warriors' nine.
Golden State will look to turn it around and jump back on top when they face off in Game 3 Sunday at 8 p.m. EST at Oracle Arena.