Austin Rivers: Rockets thought Warriors would fold without Kevin Durant

Josh Schrock
NBC Sports BayArea

Austin Rivers: Rockets thought Warriors would fold without Kevin Durant originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

When Kevin Durant went down with a strained calf during Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round NBA playoff series with the Houston Rockets, many believed the two-time defending champions would be pushed over in Game 6, setting up a decisive Game 7.

Apparently, you can count the Rockets among those who doubted the Warriors' mental toughness.

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Rockets backup guard Austin Rivers was a guest on Friday's edition of ESPN's "First Take," and he admitted Houston believed Game 6 would be easy.

"I'll be honest," River said, "the consensus in the locker room is, you know, it was 2-2, we came back in that Game 5, we were down like 17 at one point, and then KD goes down. That first timeout, it was like, 'Yo, this is it. This is our chance. We have to take this.' But that's why you never underestimate a championship team. They just figure out ways to do things. They just kept playing.

"We expected Game 6 to be, 'All right, we'll come out, punch them in the mouth. They'll quit. Fold.' And then be like, 'Let's try and get Game 7.' We came around and messed around, and they're like, 'They're not taking this game.' It went downhill from there."

Pride cometh before the fall.

Expecting a championship-tested team to quit when it has a chance to eliminate its biggest rival is next-level arrogance from the Rockets. Arrogance that, as Rivers pointed out, came back to bite them when Steph Curry exploded for 33 second-half points to send Houston packing after Game 6.

[RELATED: Warriors now facing prospect of playing Finals without KD]

It's been a summer of tough looks for the Rockets.

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