Golden State and Houston most likely played the game of the season. A lot of intensity and a lot of controversy obviously. And now that the dust has settled a little, I wanted to point out a few things that you may have missed in that whole madness, but are extremely interesting and reveal an untold story.
Starting out with that last play, obviously James Harden gets all the credit for making such a tough shot. And that’s totally deserved of course. However, 1 key guy in this whole situation that nobody talks about is P.J. Tucker. And here’s why he’s the unsung hero.
Looking at the play itself we can see that the Rockets’ plan,- out of the time out was to spread the floor for Harden, have him start from the other half, get a head of steam, and by the time he gets the ball, force a switch so that he can operate much easier one on one against the slower Draymond Green.
And initially they get that. The problem is that the length of KD denies a clean pass, so now both James and PJ have to go back towards the ball to get it.
During this scramble, Thompson can switch back to Harden, who’s lost the initial momentum and finds himself at the logo with 4 seconds to go with the best defender on him.
Tucker begins to clear out but takes a quick glance and sees the undesirable situation that Harden is in. So he goes back and sets a quick little screen, to bump Thompson away, and create just enough daylight for one of the fastest guns in the West to fire away and make a miraculous shot. So yeah, big shoutout to PJ Tucker for having the presence of mind to read and react to the situation.
And also, I wanted to point out that if you watch closely, you could see how important this game was for the Rockets. James Harden couldn’t help but show his emotions after both good and bad plays.
Even Mike D’Antoni was extremely hyped after that last shot. Something that you definitely don’t see often.
The Rockets know they only have 1 mission and 1 measure of success. Sure that 10 game stretch for them has been a huge confidence booster after a slow start, but they know who the real enemy is. They have to be able to beat Golden State in games like this, to believe and be confident that they can do it in the playoffs. And to come back from 20 down in Oracle, no Chris Paul, no Eric Gordon, 2 key pieces for this team, the confidence has to be through the roof right now.
I know it’s way early, but I really hope that this is a preview of another 7 game Western Conference Finals deathmatch.