HOUSTON — Now, if the question ever comes up and you have a chance to win a bar bet, you’ll know.
How many 3-pointers in a single NBA game does it take to make an insult?
The answer, evidently, is 23.
That’s the NBA record-tying number poured in by the Rockets on Tuesday night that finally got under the Warriors’ skin.
Not 17, 18 or 19. Not 20, 21 or 22.
It wasn’t until there were just under four minutes left in a 140-109 thumping and 7-footer Donatas Motiejunas slung one in from the right corner that it seemed to occur to anyone wearing a Golden State jersey that this was just a bit embarrassing.
So with the Toyota Center crowd on its feet and chanting: “One more three! One more three!” the Warriors decided it was time to play with whatever pride — if any — they had left.
Which then resulted in the final three minutes more closely resembling recess at an elementary school. The Rockets kept running their offense and shooting 3s. Houston reserve Patrick Beverley hammered home a dunk, then taunted the Warrior bench and drew a technical foul.
Golden State’s Draymond Green was flagged for a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected when Beverley tried to let fly with a corner jumper in front of the Warriors’ bench. Houston’s Marcus Morris was hit with a technical and tossed out on the same play.
In the final two minutes, the Warriors would not let the Rockets even attempt a 3 in order to break the record. Warriors coach Mark Jackson ordered his players to foul the Rockets intentionally on each possession.
“We’re not going to lay down,” said Jackson, ignoring the fact that his team already had. “I’m an old-school basketball player and an old-school coach. If you can’t appreciate that, that’s on you.
“We’re not going to lay down. If you’re going to get the record, we’re going to stop it. There is a way to do it, that’s all. Understand it, appreciate it and I would expect nothing less if I was on the other side.”
Rockets coach Kevin McHale just happens to be an old-school guy himself. You can tell from his limp. And also from searching on YouTube for a clip of him clotheslining the Lakers’ Kurt Rambis in Game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals.
“We just had to keep playing,” McHale said. “I really didn’t even know we had a chance to break the record until late in the game. We shoot a lot of 3s, that’s just what we do. If we were to get them in the flow, we get going to get them. Mark didn’t want it to happen and fouled and I didn’t have no problem with how they played. Mark’s got to coach his team. I have no problem with that.”
For 44 minutes, the Warriors didn’t seem to have a problem with anything the Rockets did either. Otherwise you’d think they might have played just a little bit of defense.
“At the end of the day, we just continued to play,” Morris said. “… And we were just taking the shots the defense was giving.”
Until the Warriors decided they’d had enough.
How many 3-pointers does it take to make an insult?
If you’re asked, remember to shout: “23!”
Old School Rules or New Age Touchy Feely?
Round Two is Tuesday night in Oakland.