HOUSTON – The Golden State Warriors put on a clinic in their Game 3 rout over the Rockets. The embarrassing 41-point setback was a Houston franchise record for worst playoff loss.
Despite the blowout, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni had this to say Monday about Game 4 Tuesday night in Oracle Arena in Oakland: “To me Golden State has the pressure to win, not us. They have to win.”
There's a good chance that statement is now on a board inside the Warriors locker room.
“I don’t know who the pressure is on,” said Chris Paul. “We’ll come in and get ready and be prepared.”
Golden State is the favorite as they should be thanks to a 16-game home playoff winning streak. A win sends them to a commanding 3-1 series lead, meaning the Rockets would have to win three in a row against one of the best teams in NBA history.
That won’t happen so I believe the pressure instead is on the Rockets, who D’Antoni said should come in loose and with a chip on their shoulders Tuesday night.
The Rockets were outplayed in all phases in the 126-85 whipping in Game 3. Offense, Defense, Rebounding and turnovers they just didn't bring what they describe as “The Force.”
The Rockets have things to clean up, especially scoring near the rim, which was something they did not get done Sunday night.
“We know what we have to do. They should be ready to roll. This is a big Game 4. This is the most important game,” said D’Antoni. “They are good. We have to have our 'A' game. We had our 'C' game. We can play much better, so let’s do it.”
Chris Paul weighed in Monday at practice.
“We have to find a way to play with more force. We missed a lot of layups and they converted threes on the other end,” said Paul. “You can look at things but we know what they will do and they know us. Who can do what they like to do better and last game they did it better than us.”
James Harden believes the Rockets are confident.
“We need to do what we do and it’s not hard at all,” said Harden. “We know we started solid but we have to end the quarters better. It’s hard to come back against a good team on the road. We have to do the right thing and not turn the ball over. It’s that simple,” added Harden. “Making sure we get good shots and not turn the ball over. We gave up way too much in transition,” said Harden. “We should always have the swagger. We need to come out like we did in Game 2 and get the win and take it back to the crib.”
“That’s the one good thing about our team is when we lose we come back like nothing happened. We have a veteran team like this that can bounce back,” said P.J. Tucker, who finished with six points in the Game 3 loss. “Game 2 was that sense of urgency every possession to get back in transition and keep them from getting easy baskets and do all the little things.”
Game 5 is Thursday night in Houston. The Rockets hope to have the series tied 2-2.