END OF THE LINE
Fred Faour: 5 thoughts on the Rockets' season-ending Game 7 loss to the Warriors
Five quick thoughts on the Rockets' season ending 101-92 loss to the Warriors:
Die by the 3: The Rockets lost this series because they could not hit wide open 3s. It was really nothing the Warriors did defensively; the Rockets simply could not hit from beyond the arc. At one point they missed 27 straight 3s. That's almost impossible to do; a shot or two has to fall by accident. It was a key factor in the loss. They finished 7 of 44 in Game 7.
Elimination James: There is a saying in playoff hockey; your best players have to be your best players. Same goes for the NBA. James Harden might have been the Rockets best player, but he sure did not play like it. He scored 32 of the most empty points you have ever seen. He was just 12 of 29 from the field and 2 of 13 on 3s. He also had several bad turnovers that led to easy points the other way. If he plays like regular season Harden, the Rockets win this series.
Third and long: The Rockets continuously were outscored in the third quarter and it cost them the series. They took an 11-point lead into the third and were outscored 33-16 Mondy night, and that was that.
Bad time to be awful: Trevor Ariza is a solid role player, but the Rockets needed him to contribute at least some offernse. In Game 7, he scored as many points as everyone reading this combined. He was 0-for-12 from the field and 0-of-9 on 3-pointers. Harden will get the bulk of the blame, but even a below average Ariza would have given them a shot.
The positives: The Rockets did something no one else has done since Kevin Durant showed up in Golden State -- pushed the Warriors to seven games. But without Chris Paul, they simply could not get it done. They had their chances, and if just a couple players had showed up, it would have been them playing Cleveland, not the Warriors.
The bottom line: The Rockets had every chance to win the series. With a healthy Chris Paul, they probably do. But Paul is rarely healthy, and he was gone when they needed him most. In the end, it was a fun ride, but it could have been so much more.