Splash Brothers Reign: Three takeaways from Monday’s 121-108 loss to the Warriors

Mar 20, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) drives with the ball as Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. (1) and guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) defend during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Splash Brothers Reign: Three takeaways from Monday’s 121-108 loss to the Warriors

The Rockets’ losing streak against the Golden State Warriors has hit 10 games after Monday’s 121-108 loss inside Toyota Center. Golden State outscored the Rockets 37-28 in the fourth quarter, with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combining for 21 in the quarter and 59 in the game. The Rockets, playing the second night of a back-to-back, played without Alperen Sengun due to an illness, and were led by Tari Eason’s 21 points.

Warriors dominate the fourth

The Rockets were in striking distance after three quarters, trailing 84-80, but the Warriors caught fire in the fourth quarter, hitting nine of their first 11 shots in the period, finishing with 37 points on 65 shooting the game’s final 12 minutes. Golden State shot 50% on 12 3-point attempts, outscoring the Rockets by 11.

“I was concerned about our energy that we would have for the fourth quarter because guys played so many minutes two nights in a row,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said. “I guess it was kind of a combination of both them putting their foot on the gas pedal and us trying to find gas for the of the game.”

Stephen Curry drained his first three shots of the quarter on his way to 11 points, Klay Thompson added 10, and Jonathan Kuminga chipped in six points. The Rockets’ offense wasn’t awful, as it managed to put up 28 points while shooting 42%, but it couldn’t keep up with a high-powered Warriors machine that had the services of almost all of its key players.

Slowing down Klay Thompson

Thompson torched the Rockets the first two times he played them this season, knocking down a combined 22 3-pointers while scoring 83 points. On Monday, the Rockets did a much better job on the Warriors guard. He still scored 29 points, but the Rockets made him work much harder to get them.

“That’s good recall and learning from the last time and learning from experience to do a better job this time,” Silas said.

Thompson started the game 1-of-7 from behind the 3-point line, with his one make coming in transition off a turnover, and he finished the game shooting just 5-of-13 from deep. But with the Rockets focused on taking away Thompson’s 3-ball, he was willing to move inside the arc where he shot 6-of-8.

“I feel like I could have been better,” Rockets center Jabari Smith Jr said. “Trying to run him off the three-point line, it’s kinda tough because then he gets to driving by you, and he’s still 6-8, people forget that.”

Both teams sloppy

No teams turn the ball over more than the Rockets and Warriors, and as expected there were a lot of turnovers in a game played between those two teams. The Rockets entered the game committing 16.5 turnovers per game, and they gave the ball away 18 times Monday night leading to 26 Warriors points. Still, Golden State was even sloppier.

Before Monday, the Warriors were committing 16.3 turnovers per game. They finished with 14 turnovers in the first half, leading to 13 Rockets points, and gave the ball away twice within the first four minutes of the third quarter, helping the Rockets score five easy points. The Warriors cleaned things up from that point on, committing just four turnovers over the game’s final 20 minutes.

Next up

The Rockets will open a five-game road trip when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies for the first of two games on Wednesday night.

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