Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

National Basketball Association

Friday 20th January 2017

Tip Off 19.00

Houston Rockets 108 Golden State Warriors 125,  attendance 18,055

Rockets Starters ;

Trevor Arizona, 12 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast

Ryan Anderson, 0 pts, 1 reb

Montrezl Harrell, 8 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Patrick Beverley, 13 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl

James Harden, 17 pts, 7 reb, 11 ast, 1 stl

Playing Reserves ;

Sam Dekker, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Corey Brewer, KJ McDaniels, Tyler Ennis, Bobby Brown

Warriors Starters ;

Kevin Durant, 32 pts, 4 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk

Draymond Green, 15 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl, 3 blk

Zaza Pachulia, 10 pts, 9 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl

Klay Thompson, 16 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl

Stephen Curry, 24 pts, 1 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl

Playing Reserves ;

Andre Iguodala, James Michael McAdoo, Ian Clark, Shaun Livingston, Kevin Looney, Patrick McCaw

@ Toyota Center

1510, Polk Street

Houston, TX 77002

Admission $164.97 + $37.34 fees, Resale, Electronic Ticket via Mobile Phone

Team/Information Sheet, free.

Having stayed overnight in San Antonio, following the Spurs-Nuggets game, it left me plenty of time to drive the 197 miles east to Houston. Having arrived just after 4.30 pm, i was able to park up for $12, less than 10 minutes walk from the arena. It was a good job it wasn’t far to walk as i only just made it before a thunderstorm hit and had to shelter across the road in the Hilton Hotel. By the time the rain stopped there was not much time to look for food, although there is very little in the way of eateries in the vicinity, despite it being pretty near Downtown Houston.

I decided instead to eat in the arena, where although the prices were extortionate, the quality was decent. It also meant i was inside early enough to watch the teams warming up. I’m not sure if this is the case at all NBA games, but the Stewards here were excellent and allowed people to go right behind the baskets and see the warm ups up close, allowing you to remain here for around half an hour before moving everyone out to allow those who had paid for tickets in this section to get to their seats. There were a handful at the Rockets end of the court, but probably around 300 at the Warriors end. Of course, 99% were here to see the reigning two time MVP Stephen Curry do his now legendary warm up. When he had finished, the scrum around the players tunnel had to be seen to be believed, but fair play to him, he signed autographs and had photos taken with those who pushed hard enough to get to the front. I was quite surprised he did this before the game as he could have easily injured his hand. Zaza Pachulia also stopped and signed, but there was not quite the same buzz as he exited. Kevin Durant, meanwhile, walked out and totally ignored everyone, looking straight ahead and pretending he was listening to something in the headphones he was wearing.

I have previously avoided travelling to Houston for sports events as we may end up living here at some stage. However, a chance to see the Golden State Warriors was too good to miss, especially as the Rockets are currently ranked with the third best record in the NBA this season, behind Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. Despite topping the Eastern Conference, current champions Cleveland Cavaliers would only sit in fourth place if they played in the Western Conference. They will stroll through to the Finals with little opposition, whereas the Western Division is a much tougher route.

Tonights ticket was also the most expensive i have ever bought, and despite being in the top tier, one seat offset from the halfway line, it was worth every penny. It was bought through Flash Seats and was barcoded on my mobile phone, which when scanned gives a paper print out of your ticket as you enter the arena. This worked fine for me, but this obviously isn’t always the case, as there were 6 windows allocated to ‘Flash Seats Rectification’ at the box office !

There would be three of the starters for the West Division team in the upcoming NBA All-Star game on show tonight. Curry and Durant from the Warriors and James Harden of the Rockets, who is also highly tipped to win this seasons MVP award.

Warriors were able to stifle the Rockets attacking options tonight and limited them to just 7-35 3-point attempts, something that other teams have struggled to do. Eric Gordon, who led this season with the most 3-pointers scored, failed to register any of his 7 attempts from beyond the arc. Curry, who had trailed him by two, managed to knock down 5 of his attempts and regain the current season leader spot for the Warriors. This result leaves Warriors with a 37-6 winning record for the season, with Rockets now 33-13.

The atmosphere was really good and the noise levels were off the charts each time the Rockets scored. The Toyota Center was packed to its 18,055 capacity and very few seats were empty. It has been home to the Rockets since it opened in 2003, with Toyota agreeing to pay $100 million for naming rights, which was the fourth largest deal for a sports arena in the United States at the time.

The journey back north to Dallas was interrupted by a massive thunderstorm, which meant taking shelter for a good half hour at an Exxon fuel station as it was impossible to see the road, and minutes after pulling in there were hail stones hammering down as well. There must have been at least 20 cars parked under the canopy waiting for the storm to pass. Apparently, the storm had also affected the plans of the Warriors. They had been due to fly on to Orlando after the game, where they play the Magic on Sunday lunchtime, but they were forced to stay overnight and fly out on Saturday morning instead. I completed my 248 mile drive home just before 2 am.