The Golden State Warriors won Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals over the Houston Rockets 115-109 in a game where Rockets star James Harden suffered blurry vision most of the night after an inadvertent eye rake from Draymond Green.
Harden scored 29 points in a losing cause despite the eye injuries, which included a lacerated left eyelid.
The Warriors took a 2-0 series lead. Both teams have the next three nights off before the series resumes with Game 3 in Houston on Saturday.
Steph Curry also left Game 2 prematurely with a dislocated finger on his non-shooting hand. X-rays were negative and the team doctor popped his finger back into place. Curry returned to the game and scored 20 points. Curry had an off night including a 3-for-13 clip from three-point range.
The referees and officiating were not the key issues at play in Game 2. The crew swallowed their whistles and let both teams play physical, unlike the opening game of the series.
“It was a great officiated game,” said Draymond Green.
The Rockets were miffed by the favoritism the Warriors received in Game 1 from the officials. This claim occurred around the same time that ESPN published a report outlining a dossier that the Rockets sent to the NBA head office in New York citing all the missed calls during the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
Call it a freaky coincidence, but the NBA named controversial official Scott Foster to the crew for Game 2. The NBA insisted they locked in the officials’ schedule before the series began.
Ever since Joey Crawford retired, Foster has become the most-hated official in the NBA. Veterans and coaches do not like his arrogance and rudeness. Millennial stars have no chance garnering favor with Foster. Then again, he seems to be an equal opportunity offender. Both the Rockets and Warriors have previous beefs with Foster’s officiating style.
The Rockets seem to get it the worst. Foster rarely awards James Harden free throws when he utilizes his clever moves and smarmy attempts at drawing fouls.
“It’s personal. For sure,” said James Harden. “I don’t think he should be able to officiate out games anymore, honestly.”
Coming into Tuesday night, the Rockets were 3-7 against the point spread in the last ten Rockets games Scott Foster officiated. NBA conspiracies or not, pro gamblers were still fading the Rockets once the NBA released the daily officiating schedule on the morning of Game 2.
Counting Game 2, the Rockets are now 0-6 against the spread in their last six Foster games and 3-8 ATS overall.
Dreamy Green Eyes
Draymond Green has a reputation for playing dirty, but he really didn’t mean to poke James Harden in the eye. The incident occurred less than five minutes into Game 2. Harden missed a shot and went after his own rebound. Green’s hand got in the way of his eye and injured Harden’s eye.
Harden returned to the game after getting special eye drops.
“I didn’t have a doubt he was coming back,” said Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni.
“I barely could see,” said Harden after the game. “It’s pretty blurry right now. Hopefully, it gets better day by day.”
Even with vision issues for Harden, both he and the Rockets shot much better in Game 2. The Rockets connected on 42.5 percent of their three pointers with a 17-for-40 clip. Harden went 3-for-7 from three-point land, but only took nine free throws.
Chris Paul added 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Clint Capela contributed a double-double for the Rockets with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Heading into Game 3, the Houston Rockets are still 12/1 odds to win the NBA Championship according to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas. The Warriors are currently -200 odds to win the NBA title for a third season in a row.