By Jon Carlos RodriguezGame 1 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets started off exactly as we all expected: fast-paced, high octane, frenetic basketball that was so exhausting (and highly addicting) to watch.
The Rockets were the first to blink, and therefore lost by 13 points despite a 41-point effort from James Harden. If you too blinked during that intense 48 minutes of awesomeness, you may have missed some of these highlights:
The Fake Jump Ball
Forty seconds in the high stakes game, referee Scott Foster shook off the jitters with a rare move: pump faking a jump ball. The fake sent both Klay Thompson and Trevor Ariza flying, tipping nothing but air. Foster deserved a tech for that.
“Shut Up and Play Ball!”
After he was stripped the ball, Kevin Durant turned to the refs to complain about a non-call. Chris Paul must’ve seen this as a teaching moment, as he removed his mouthpiece to hit last year’s Finals MVP with a “Shut up and play ball!” CP3 is awesome in a terribly annoying way.
CP3 Elbow on KD
Towards the end of the first half with the Warriors up two, Paul got away from Durant by throwing an elbow to a sensitive part of KD’s body. No foul was called and the play ended in a two-handed dunk from Clint Capela to tie the game, which was a great ending, because an elbow to the butt could’ve ended very differently.
The Steve Kerr Tito Wisdom
Steph Curry didn’t have a Steph Curry performance in Game 1 (he missed four of his five 3-point attempts) and it led Warriors coach Steve Kerr to spread words of encouragement on him: “We’re going to break free in this series at some point and so are you.” But his quote of the night didn’t involve lighting a fire on his superstar, it’s his analysis of basketball in 2018: “There’s no way I could have played in the NBA today. So I came around at the right time 20 years ago.”
The Klay Celebration
Klay Thompson smoked the Rockets with a game-high six 3-pointers in Game 1 and he wanted everyone to know what he does in his free time: blow kisses to the air.