We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.



Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.


The Rockets will win this series with or without Chris Paul if the Warriors keep playing soft like they did in Games 4 and 5.

These are the issues they must address to beat the Rockets.

1. Can the Warriors ever get into an offensive flow against Houston’s defense?

The Warriors failed to crack 95 points the past two games. They need to play significantly better on offense to win this series.

Which seems strange, because in those two games the Warriors shot a higher percentage from the field and on 3s than the Rockets. And yet, the Warriors still lost. Here’s why: they shot lots of contested 2s, while the Rockets shot lots of open 3s. The Rockets got better shots than the Warriors.

In Game 2, the Rockets outscored the Warriors from behind the arc by 21 points, and won by 22. In Game 4, the Rockets outscored the Warriors from behind the arc by nine points, and won by three. And in Game 5, the Rockets outscored the Warriors from behind the arc again by nine points, and won by four. The 3s have been the difference in the series. Every time the Rockets make more 3s than the Warriors, the Rockets win. That’s their formula for victory — bombs away.

The Warriors used to have the same formula. Last season, they scored on average 14.2 3s per game on 37.2 attempts in the NBA Finals. This season in the conference final, they’re averaging only 10.7 3s per game on 29.6 attempts.

That’s a formula for losing.

2. Can Kevin Durant ever play Warriors basketball and not just James Harden basketball?

It seems Durant has a personal competition going with Harden, his former teammate, over which player can score more points one-on-one against the other team. Durant is winning his competition, but hurting his team at the same time.

Every time Durant catches the ball inside the 3-point line, he does the Rockets a favor. The best shot he’ll get from that spot on the floor is a contested 2-pointer, and he most likely won’t pass.

Steve Kerr took Durant aside during a timeout in Game 5 and basically told him not to be a ball hog, to look to pass before shooting. Durant has 10 assists and 10 turnovers in five playoff games against the Rockets — he’s trying to win by himself. He’s playing like he did in Oklahoma City, when he was a high-level loser.

He’s not executing the Warriors offense, which is based on passing and cutting. Durant is killing all of that motion. They have to stop running their offense through him so much if he doesn’t get with the program.

3. Can Stephen Curry ever become a superstar in this series?

The Warriors wouldn’t have to run their offense through Durant if Curry weren’t content with a supporting role. He seems like Durant’s kid brother on the court. Just passes Durant the ball and runs away from the play.

Curry used to be aggressive. Now, he’s passive, almost like a role player. During Game 5, one of the television announcers said the alpha male on the Warriors was Durant, not Curry. Really? I thought the Warriors were supposed to be Curry’s team.

He shouted at the crowd that Oracle Arena is his bleeping house when he made four 3s in the second half of Game 3 after the Warriors already were leading by double digits. He wanted the spotlight then. But when things got close in the fourth quarter of the next two games, he wanted to hide. He scored no points during the final 4:55 of Game 5. He was a ghost.

The Warriors need Curry to join the living.

4. Can Draymond Green ever stop committing turnovers?

While the Warriors wait for Durant to start passing and Curry to start playing hard, they need someone to lead the offense and distribute the ball like a point guard.

That’s usually Green. He leads the team in assists. But, he also leads the team in turnovers, and his turnovers are killing the Warriors. When Green commits four or more turnovers in this series, the Warriors are 0-3. When he commits three or fewer turnovers, the Warriors are 2-0.

In Game 5, he turned the ball over six times, including on the final play of the game, when he took his eye off a good pass from Curry, fumbled the ball and the Warriors lost.

The Warriors can’t win this series with Turnover Draymond. They need Smart Draymond back.

5. Can Andre Iguodala ever play again in this series?

More than anything, the Warriors need Healthy Iguodala. Injured Iguodala has missed the past two games with a lateral leg contusion. Without him, the Warriors’ record against the Rockets this season is 0-4. He’s important, but not in the way you might think.

Even though Iguodala is known for defense, the Warriors have been better on defense without him in this series. His replacement, Kevon Looney, is an excellent defender who’s young and big. His defense gives the Rockets more problems than Iguodala’s defense does.

Iguodala’s value in this series comes on offense, although he hardly ever scores. He keeps the ball moving, upholds the style of offense the Warriors want to run.

With Iguodala on the floor during this series, the Warriors are shooting 51.4 percent and their offensive rating is 116.3 — extremely high. Without Iguodala, the Warriors shooting percentage drops to 44.6 percent and their offensive rating plummets to 107.1 — mediocre.

The Warriors should have been more careful with him. He injured his knee with seven minutes left in Game 3, when he shouldn’t have been playing. The Warriors were up by 24 points. His injury is on Kerr.

Thanks to Kerr, the Warriors’ final shot in Game 5 went to Quinn Cook, not Iguodala. Cook dropped the ball, picked it up and missed a 3. Iguodala would have made a shot or made a play. He would not have dropped the ball.

Iguodala can fix most of the Warriors’ issues if he returns soon. Will he? Or, will Chris Paul return first?

If the answer is Paul, the Warriors will lose.

Grant Cohn covers Bay Area sports for The Press Democrat and Pressdemocrat.com in Santa Rosa. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

Show Comment