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. The Splash Brothers combined for 54 points while DeMarcus Cousins stepped up in KD's absence with a line of 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. This was his first outing with more than 5 boards since February 8. I think it was maybe a reminder that when we play against them, obviously, that's the goal. He averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in 48 games with New Orleans.
Cousins posted season-highs in points (27) and assists (seven) to help the Warriors avert a four-game, season-series sweep by the Rockets.
"We made a concerted effort to try to feed him in the post because of the way they played defense".
Playing to DeMarcus Cousins' strength the rest of the season will be key for the Warriors' success, and it perfectly exemplified the type of play they want to continue.
"I think we all do, but at the end of the day it's a win or it's a loss", he said.
"For us, he's not the main focus because we are really trying to take away 3s and make them score in the paint", Capela said.
Still, this year's iteration of the Thunder presents a stiffer challenge than the one the Warriors overcame 11 months ago.
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Regardless of all the chatter surrounding the rivalry between the Warriors and the Rockets, Green said "I'm not sure stupidity juices anyone".
"We fought the entire game, it's just you're playing against a good team like that [and] you've got to play hard and smart".
Houston coach Mike D'Antoni indeed bemoaned that his team made too many mistakes and said this should be something that will help the Rockets more than just by watching film.
In brief the Rockets opened at 7-2 odds to win the 2019 NBA Championship, second to the Warriors 5-4 odds last June.
The Rockets also have gotten a boost recently from the strong play of Eric Gordon.
"We didn't learn nothing that we didn't already know", guard Chris Paul said after the Rockets' nine-game winning streak was snapped and any realistic hope of catching the Warriors for the West's top seed was extinguished. "He did a phenomenal job of just getting down on the block and controlling the game down there".
"We've talked about it as a team many times so hopefully, on this trip, we'll get to that point". So it's good to have multiple guys that can step up every night.
Paul sank two free throws with 47 seconds remaining to pull Houston within 104-100, then completed a 3-point play after being fouled by Andre Iguodala to pull the Rockets within 104-103 with 10 seconds remaining.