NBA 2017-18

Golden State register a 119-106 victory in Western Conference final opener over Houston Rockets

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson scored 37 and 28 points respectively to lead the scoring charts for Golden State.

Season wins leader Houston battled an entire campaign to seize a home-court edge throughout the NBA playoffs, but defending champion Golden State stole it away with a 119-106 victory Monday.

Kevin Durant scored 37 points and Klay Thompson added 28 for the Warriors to capture the best-of seven Western Conference final opener in a rare series start on the road for a team seeking its third NBA crown in four seasons.

“We’re just trying to win every game we play,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “It ends up being ‘stealing home court’ but we don’t look at it that way. We won one game on the road. Let’s try to win two.”

Stephen Curry added 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists while Green contributed nine rebounds and nine assists for the Warriors.

“It’s a great start. We played well,” said Thompson, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter. “We’re not going to relax. We’re still not where we want to be. We still have a long way to go.”

NBA scoring champion James Harden netted 41 points to lead the Rockets, who host game two on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to do a better job of taking better shots, not turning the ball over and getting back on D,” Harden said. “We’ve got to make them rotate and take tougher shots.

“They do a really good job if you take bad shots or turn the ball over. That’s what they thrive on. Those mistakes can’t happen.”

Durant scored 17 first-half points and sparked Golden State after the Rockets played aggressively at the start, using two big runs to jump ahead only to have the Warriors overtake them by the middle of the second quarter.

“You know they are going to come out with a lot of energy,” Durant said. “We just tried to take their best punch and keep fighting.”

“To withstand that run says a lot about our team,” Green said. “The further you get along in the playoffs, the more intensity you need to bring.”

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni knows that all too well.

“If we’re going to knock these guys off we have to get a better mental focus,” D’Antoni said. “We ran out of gas a little bit in different spots and they didn’t.

“It’s just a bunch of stuff we can clean up and we will. We’ll come out and attack them Wednesday.”

‘They made us pay’

Chris Paul had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who fell behind in the third period and couldn’t catch up in the fourth.

“Every time we made a mistake they made us pay,” Paul said. “Some of it was breakdowns, things we can clean up and do better. We have to communicate better.”

Durant says the Warriors know Harden will always be a threat but Golden State must remain poised against a Rockets lineup that can unleash a barrage of 3-pointers if their focus lapses.

“We know James is always going to score over us. We just had to keep solid and keep playing hard,” Durant said.

“This Houston team never stops. They are always in the game with 3-point shots. We play a calm steady game, look for a good shot and play good D every time down.”

Staying mentally sharp

Thompson had a 3-pointer and two free throws in a 10-2 Warriors run that Durant capped with a 3-pointer for a 100-87 lead with 7:58 remaining in the fourth quarter. Houston never threatened again.

“We can do a little better job against them mentally,” D’Antoni said. “They are champions for a reason. If we want to beat them we have to be mentally sharp.

“KD was on. We can live with that. But we can’t have that and mental mistakes.”

The Rockets jumped ahead 9-2 and 21-12 but the Warriors battled back, taking their first lead of the game at 35-33 on David West’s layup 2:57 into the second quarter.

“They took the challenge and played awfully well,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.