Udoka disappointed his Rockets looked ‘soft' in blowout loss to Dubs

Udoka disappointed his Rockets looked ‘soft' in blowout loss to Dubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Houston coach Ime Udoka didn't hold back after the Rockets' blowout loss to the Warriors on Thursday.

Following Golden State's 133-110 win over Houston at Toyota Center, Udoka explained that his team didn't rise to the occasion the way he expected given the massive NBA playoff implications of Thursday's matchup.

"It looked like the moment was too big for a lot of players out there," Udoka told reporters after the game. "It looked like deer in the headlights a little bit. Either looked soft or scared. One or the other, and that's two bad things for our guys to have. Didn't rise up to the moment like I thought we would."

The Rockets had been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the last month, winning 11 consecutive games to put immense pressure on the Warriors for the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. Houston got within one game of Golden State in the standings for the final spot in the play-in tournament, before losing back-to-back contests that made Thursday's matchup essentially a must-win if the Rockets were to make a serious run at making the 2024 NBA postseason.

In arguably their biggest game of the season, Houston came out flat, falling behind by double digits in the first few minutes of action after Golden State raced out to a hot start following the opening tip.

Klay Thompson recorded 21 first-half points and finished the night with 29 points on 7-of-10 shooting beyond the arc. Following the win, Thompson alluded to comments made by Houston forward Tari Eason -- who taunted Golden State in a social media post last week -- serving as added motivation for a Warriors team that came into this contest already having won their last five games.

Eason -- who is sidelined for the remainder of the 2023-24 season -- made a reference to the 1979 film "The Warriors," quoting a famous line that says, "Warriors, come out to play." The jest clearly struck a nerve with Thompson, who shared his thoughts on the matter after Thursday's game.

"That's pretty lame. Especially if you're not even playing," Thompson told reporters. "It's one thing if you're playing and you're out there competing, and you can back it up. But if you're just going to be trolling from the sideline ... like what are we doing? Times we talk mess, at least we're out there competing. That's all I have to say about that."

Steph Curry also acknowledged Eason's trash talk gave the Warriors an additional spark, even offering a clap back of his own during the final minutes of the fourth quarter with a nod to the film the Rockets forward originally quoted with his taunt.

Curry dropped 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting, continuing his longstanding dominance over a Houston team that has lost its last 13 matchups with Golden State, a streak that dates back to February 2020.

With the win, the Warriors improved to 42-34, giving them a four-game lead over the Rockets (38-38) in the Western Conference playoff race with six games remaining for both teams.

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