The 7 storylines that made the Warriors’ Game 6 win over Rockets so satisfying including Curry, Durant, CP3 and #Game6Klay

There’s certainly no love lost between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, so their win last night was another feather in Golden State’s cap. And even though on paper, this may have been just another second round game, don’t be mistaken, the Warriors’ victory last night was extra special on many different levels.

There’s a reason why the Warriors were so excited to celebrate after the game 6 win “This was one of the best wins we’ve had in my nine years as owner,” said Warriors owner Joe Lacob. This is coming from someone that has been apart of three championships.

So what makes Golden State’s epic Western Conference Semifinals win over the Rockets particularly satisfying? It’s because the game and series was layered with different core story lines that were intertwined with one another. In fact, there are, so many that it’s hard to keep track of it.

I’ll try to summarize them all in one paragraph: the fact that the Warriors in Houston won without Kevin Durant, with Andre Iguodala in the line up, and did it with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson bringing back the Splash Brothers made vanquishing a Rockets team built to defeat them, a team that featured an uninjured (and potentially dirty) Chris Paul was particularly satisfying and full of schadenfreude.

We don’t blame you for not having all the context that made this win gratifying for the Warriors, so we’ll catch you up and break down why this win was so special:

The Warriors Defeated the Rockets as Complete Underdogs

It’s not often that the current iteration of the Golden State Warriors are considered underdogs, but like we said, last night was special. If the Warriors lost last night, no one would have been surprised. They were seen as short handed, their bench was supposedly “thinner” than it was during their first championship run, and Steph Curry looked pretty regular up until the fourth quarter of game five. Many analysts expected Houston to make a statement,  bull dozing the supposedly short-handed Warriors by 15 or 20 points. Las Vegas confirmed their underdog status by pegging Houston as 7 point favorites. That’s the largest a Golden State opponent has been favored since Steve Kerr starting coaching the team.

We’re sure that this fact only served to focus and motivate the Warriors.

The Warriors Defeated the Rockets Without Kevin Durant

Prior to game six, no one gave the Warriors much of a chance against the Rockets without Kevin Durant. And that’s understandable, Durant is the league’s most-unstoppable player, he was named Finals MVP the last two years, and the future Hall-of-Famer has expanded his game to become a better passer and elite defender. On top of all that, Durant has been particularly unstoppable in this year’s Playoffs; leading the field with a 34.2 ppg average.

Since Durant came to Golden State, the Warriors accepted him wholeheartedly (save for the very public fight between he and Draymond Green). In the three years Durant has put on a Warriors jersey, he went from one of the team’s all-stars to the lead player.

Steph Curry understood the importance of Durant and adjusted his game, and over time, he was relegated to the second option. Klay Thompson went from secondary to “oh yeah don’t forget about Thompson” role.

The fact that Golden State won showed the world that the Warriors could revive the magic from their core four of Green, Curry, Thompson and Iguodala. In particular, it showed that…

The Warriors Could Beat the Rockets with Steph Curry as Primary

The 2019 NBA Playoffs hasn’t been one that has helped Curry’s resume. And Game 6 didn’t start off promising for Curry as he had his second scoreless half of his career; missing easy layup and threes that he would normally make, but Curry caught fire in the second half. He dribbled out of double teams, re-located, broke down PJ Tucker, and scored 33 points after halftime.

Curry was the primary play maker at the end of the game and that resulted in him scoring or initiating the offense via pick and roll with Draymond. This was was the Warriors’ go to play prior to Durant’s arrival and it also brought back the joy and magic of those Warriors teams of the mid-2010’s/.

The Warriors Beat the Rockets with Game Six Klay

Honestly, had it not been for Thompson’s 21 point-first half, the Warriors (and Curry) might not have been in position to steal the game in Houston. Luckily, Klay was firing on all-cylinders from the start; bringing up faint memories of his unbelievable game 6 versus Oklahoma City in 2016. #game6klay

The Warriors Beat the Rockets with Andre Iguodala and Chris Paul

When Chris Paul went down with an injury in last year’s playoffs, the Warriors went on to win games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Finals to advance to the finals. The Houston Rockets rightfully believed that if they had Chris Paul, they would have won. Who wouldn’t think that? For the most part, the Warriors didn’t respond, but when they did it involved a counter-argument that Golden State was down Andre Iguodala when he went out in game three of the 2018 match up. In fact, Iguodala said if he hadn’t been injured that the Warriors would have won 4-1. Paul rekindled that when the Harden-less Rockets defeated the Warriors in a regular season game.

Both players had the chance to live up to those boasts from last year and both answered the bell. CP3 ended the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists and Iguodala scored 17 points with five threes that destroyed Houston’s defensive strategy. The difference between Paul and Iguodala? It’s that the Warriors won the game (and without Kevin Durant!)

The Warriors Beat Chris Paul

No doubt that the key to the Rockets is James Harden, but what gave the Warriors special motivation was Chris Paul. The feisty 6-2 point guard wasn’t just hitting tough shots, but was doing anything and everything within his control to change the game and that included running his mouth, running into players, flopping, and being accused of playing dirty on and off the court.

That off-the-court pettiness was why we saw Curry screaming “Kick me off the court again, boy!” as he walk down the tunnell after the Game 6 victory. Check it out on Twitter.

And as ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst wrote about the Warriors’ locker room rejoicing included “Chris Paul’s name (was) surrounded by curse words. The Warriors dearly loved this win and they always love beating Paul.”

The Warriors Beat the Rockets in Houston

If it wasn’t enough that the Warriors eliminated the Rockets and did it without Kevin Durant, it’s all magnified that the Rockets lost the series on their home floor in the Toyota Center.

Though these story lines are enough on their own, they’re all intertwined by threads from past seasons, internal conflicts and drama. This is why the Warriors-Rockets series is the best in today’s NBA. Now the question is what will the Rockets do going forward? As amazing as James Harden is offensively, did this series prove that he’s just a regular season player? Will the Rockets keep Mike D’Antoni or move on? Paul is still one of the best point guards in the league, but he’ll be 35 next season, so how much will he have left in the tank?

Whatever those answers end up being, it’s going to be a long off-season for the Rockets to figure out the right solutions. While they do, you can best believe that the Warriors will relish in Houston’s pain.

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