Is James Harden to blame? It's possible, as the All-Star guard was caught on tape saying the Warriors "ain't even that good" before a recent game against Golden State. The chippiness and chirping between the two teams started early and continued even after the Warriors built a 20-plus point lead. Once the dust settled, the officials had handed out six technical fouls and one ejection, and an MVP candidate had to be restrained by a teammate.
The intensity reached a high point early in the third quarter when Trevor Ariza was called for an offensive foul after contacting Stephen Curry. As Ariza ran back on defense, he appeared to make a point of bumping Curry, prompting an immediate reaction from the All-Star point guard. Curry quickly gave chase before Draymond Green stepped in, grabbing Curry around the upper body and swinging him away from a direct confrontation with Ariza.
The officials quickly intervened, while Green and Andrew Bogut exchanged words with the Rockets as Curry cooled off near Golden State's bench. Eventually, Curry and Ariza were hit with technicals and the Oracle Arena saluted Curry's feistiness with a round of "MVP" chants.
From there, the frustration continued to mount for Houston. Josh Smith received a pair of technical fouls back-to-back later in the third quarter for disputing a no-call on a drive.
The Rockets have every reason to feel embarrassed and salty after this one, as the loss dropped them to 0-4 on the season against the Warriors. The average margin of defeat in those games? A whopping 15.3 points.
"If we're not that good, they're in trouble," Green deadpanned afterward, according to CBSSports.com.
By improving to a league-best 34-6 on the season, Golden State secured one of the 10 best records in NBA history through 40 games.
Nevertheless, Houston center Dwight Howard wasn't quite ready to crown the Warriors.
Curry finished with 22 points and 10 assists. Klay Thompson netted a team-high 27 points and added five assists and four steals.
Harden scored a game-high 33 points and dished six assists. Corey Brewer added 20 points off the bench for Houston.
The Rockets fell to 29-14.