Even with Kevin Durant and James Harden missing out, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets produced a fast-paced and highly entertaining contest on Thursday night at the Toyota Center, resulting in a 124-114 win for the guests.
On a night when Stephen Curry continued his striking return from a sprained ankle, Draymond Green filled up the stat sheet and a low-key Dub stepped up, here’s what we learned …
Who would have guessed it? It was a Kevon Looney episode. From early on in the opening quarter, when Zaza Pachulia found himself switched onto Chris Paul atop the key, looking like a castaway stranded on an island, it was clear that the center minutes were going to be difficult to fill.
Jordan Bell never saw the floor again after an unsuccessful six-minute stint in the first quarter. David West did what he does, providing a steady 12 minutes off the bench, but it was Kevon Looney who was the star of the frontline.
The seldom-used big scored seven points, recorded a block and was all over the glass, snatching up eight in 15 minutes. Looney, who logged a lone minute of play in the past three games, even helped lock down Paul when switched onto the point guard in the fourth.
Looney is poised to have a significant role should the Warriors and Rockets meet in the Western Conference playoffs.
Undefeated. Never lost. That’s the case when Green goes for a triple double. Green totaled 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, giving him his 21st triple double — a franchise record. The Warriors are 21-0 in those games. Green also added a couple steals and a block while playing a team-high 38 minutes.
Apparently you can’t outshoot the Warriors after all. In back-to-back nights, the Dallas Mavericks and Rockets combined to hoist 93 shots from beyond the arc. The Warriors attempted 62 and won both games.
That’s a discouraging realization for a league attempting to catch up with the reigning champs.
It’s hardly surprising that the Rockets, who entered the evening averaging an NBA-high 43.1 3-pointers, would attempt 50 shots from distance.
The line of Gerald Green, who was playing just his fifth game as a Rocket, was less expected. The 31-year-old had 29 points, shooting 8-for-15 from 3-point range. It earned him a guaranteed contract for the remainder of the season, according to ESPN.
Steph gonna Steph. Curry delivered his third standout showing in as many games since returning from his extended absence. The two-time MVP poured in 29 points and came a rebound short of a double double.
His numbers in his first three games are staggering: 96 minutes, 99 points, 60.7 percent from the field, 55.5 percent from 3-point range, 18 rebounds and 16 assists.
Andre Iguoldala holds his own in a rare start. A part of the starting lineup for just the second time all season, Iguodala finished in double figures (10 points) for the first time since Nov. 27. Mired in a nasty shooting funk — 33.8 percent from the field in December — Iguodala had an efficient night, going 5-for-9. Admittedly, the forward didn’t exactly shoot his way out of the downturn as the vast majority of his attempts were dunks and layups. But he had to start somewhere.