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Rockets Go Quietly into the Night in Game 3

The Houston Rockets fought valiantly in two tough losses at Oracle Arena, and considering how competitive those first two games were, the thought (or hope) was that the Rockets would come home and make the Western Conference Finals a series again with a big victory in Game 3. Instead, the exact opposite happened, as Houston was blown out of its own gym by the mighty Golden State Warriors, 115-80.

The Rockets were never competitive, falling behind by 12 points in the first quarter and 25 by halftime. It just kept getting worse and worse before the final margin settled on 35 points.

Houston’s box score is just littered with ugliness. James Harden, who had been so brilliant in the series (and playoffs) prior to that late gaffe in Game 2, shot just 3-of-16 from the field and was a team-worst -31. He only had four assists, and the only thing saving him from a completely hideous line was the fact that he made 10-of-11 at the line. Here’s a look at Harden’s shot chart. SO MUCH BLOOD!:

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2-of-8 from the paint is real rough. Even uglier is Harden’s 2-of-10 mark on uncontested shots, per SportVU. The Rockets as a team shot 9-of-35 on uncontested looks in Game 3, a truly hideous number. It’s no surprise then that they shot 33.7 percent overall and 5-of-25 on three-pointers. Houston made just seven shots outside the paint all night, and when you do that and only make 12-of-30 shots at the rim, you’re going to have a bad time.

Dwight Howard and Josh Smith were the only two Rockets with semi-respectable lines, but those two had their warts as well. Howard had 14 points and 14 rebounds, but he shot 2-of-8 from the line. The big man isn’t a good free throw shooter to begin with, but 2-of-8 is especially bad, not that it really mattered in this blowout. But still. Houston shot 19-of-31 from the line for the game.

Smith had 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists while shooting 6-of-14 overall and 3-of-5 from three, but he turned the ball over four times. Corey Brewer was the only other Rocket to score in double figures, and he shot 5-of-15 overall and missed all four of his three-pointers.

While the MVP runner-up had a night to forget, the MVP had a night to remember. Stephen Curry scored 40 points on just 19 shots, making 7-of-9 from three-point range. In the process, Curry broke Reggie Miller‘s record for most three-pointers in a postseason. Miller’s record was 58 three-pointers in 22 games in the 2000 postseason, and Curry now sits at a whopping 64 three-pointers in just 13 games.

Needless to say, this series is over. The Rockets pulled off a miracle comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers last series, but these Warriors aren’t those Clippers. Perhaps Houston wins Game 4 and the series goes back to Oracle, but it would be shocking if this series made it past five games and kind of surprising if it even went back to Oakland. The Rockets had their chances in those first two games at Oracle, and instead of responding well at home, they just laid down and died.

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