With Curry sitting out with a sprained right ankle, the Warriors started Shaun Livingston, a 6′ 7″ point guard who is good at a great many things, but not good (at all) at shooting three pointers—he finished 2-12 from deep on the season. (Curry, meanwhile, was 402-886.)
It didn’t matter. Livingston stayed inside the arc—roasting notorious point guard murderer Patrick Beverley by taking him into the block—and the Warriors’ best facilitator, forward/center Draymond Green, kept the Warriors offensive moving at its usual hyper-efficient clip. Klay Thompson upheld the Splash Brother name by scoring 34 points on 20 shots. Fifteen of those 34 came from the line because if this Rockets team is one thing it’s handsy—their main strategy against Curry, and the Warriors as a unit, seems to be to push them around.
Which means that, as long as Curry’s ankles—the best bad ankles in the world, as an ESPN The Magazine article described them last year—are ultimately OK, it’s maybe not the worst thing in the world to have Steph spend some time on the bench. The Warriors faced the Rockets in last year’s Western Conference Finals and, while this team resembles that one on paper, they’re miles apart. This Rockets team is a mess, proof that, whatever Daryl Morey says, chemistry matters. Of course, Curry will be back, probably for Game 3, and his ankles will, history tells us, probably be fine, and the Rockets won’t have a chance in this series. But Monday night proved they didn’t have a chance anyway.