Eric Gay/Associated Press
The Golden State Warriors are a defensive nightmare for opponents who have to focus on stopping Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all at the same time, but Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden acknowledged his team needs “to do a better job” after Monday’s 119-106 loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
He specifically pointed to early three-pointers by Nick Young and layups Houston’s defense allowed while saying “those mistakes can’t happen,” per NBA TV:
NBA TV @NBATV
“Those mistakes can’t happen.” – @JHarden13 on what the Rockets need to clean up defensively heading into Game 2 #NBAPlayoffs https://t.co/ci3OH5Cr0B
Houston’s defense was helpless at times with Durant (37 points) and Thompson (28 points) consistently finding the bottom of the net at Toyota Center, and the Warriors shot 52.5 percent from the field as a team.
Harden was one of the culprits even though he scored 41 points on the offensive end, as Golden State targeted him in specific pick-and-rolls and offensive sets at times as it pulled away in the second half.
The good news for the Rockets is the fact they were one of the best defensive teams in the league this season. They were sixth in defensive rating, per NBA.com, and will look to stifle Golden State’s attack in Game 2 on Wednesday after losing home-court advantage.