So nobody wanted to jump to any grand conclusions after the Golden State Warriors held on for a 106-104 win Wednesday over the Houston Rockets, a team that has established itself over the past two seasons as the two-time defending champions' primary challengers. Playing without star forward Kevin Durant, who sat out because of an ankle sprain, the Warriors enjoyed one of their best defensive efforts in recent weeks Wednesday, while riding Cousins and a combined 54 points from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. This was his first outing with more than 5 boards since February 8.
The Golden State Warriors have had an unprecedented number of issues this year in comparison to what the team normally deals with, yet they continue to show that when they are up against a wall, they are still the team to beat. Clint Capela chipped in a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Warriors may have some disappointing losses to teams like the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns, but at the end of the day, this group of players is probably the greatest collection of talent ever assembled.
The Rockets took the Warriors to seven games in last season's Western Conference Finals.
"This is the team we should have had all year and it just didn't materialize", coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Bryant had 21 points, with 10 of those coming in the final stanza, to go along with 10 rebounds (four offensive) as well as one assist and two blocks in 25 minutes off the bench.
Ever since Kevin Durant arrived in the Bay Area in the summer of 2017, National Basketball Association fans have been in constant pursuit of any reason to not believe that the Golden State Warriors will wind up as champions once again. "I think we're right there with them".
The Rockets still have a lot on the line with the regular season winding down.
"It's OK", Harden said when answering a question that started with how the Rockets were on a roll.
Thompson, Cousins and Curry were the only Warriors to score in double figures.
Yet, here we are today, with Golden State having taken home each of the last two championships with a third likely on the way. "I think that's what will be good for us in the playoffs". The Rockets made things interesting by going on a 13-4 run to close the game - with Eric Gordon and Chris Paul doing the heavy lifting - but it ultimately wasn't enough.
Harden was unhappy that they didn't play good defense until late in the game.
When Cousins settled for a one-year deal with Golden State, a lot of folks figured he could be a solution to the Rockets' switch-intensive defensive scheme that often baited the Warriors into relying on isolation instead of their typically lovely ball movement. "This was a good night".
"It's a good win for us", Kerr said. On Sunday night the Suns went into Oracle Arena and defeated Golden State for the first time since a 107-95 victory on November 9, 2014.