Story and photo by Sam Tolosa
SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors WON OVER THE Houston Rockets, 120-107, at its bi-annual Filipino Heritage Night (FHN) with a 120-107 early Sunday evening at the Chase Center.
This is the fourth consecutive win for the Warriors which puts them at 8-1 and at the top of the Western Conference.
Significantly, it was the Rockets scheduled for FHN as they featured the second pick of this year’s draft, Jalen Green, the highest draft pick of any Filipino American basketball player in NBA history.
Green, a Fresno native who played high school ball in Napa, finished with nine points and two assists, Jae “Sean” Tate lead Houston with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Jordan Poole led the Warriors with 25 points and Stephen Curry chipped in 20 points but it was the Warriors bench that once again put a stamp on the game with its inspired play.
The Warriors bench finished with 50 total points for the game despite missing Andre Iguodala (absent with a hip injury). Otto Porter Jr. drilled three straight 3-pointers to stretch a one point Warrior lead to 10 in the second quarter.
Then with approximately five minutes left in the third quarter leading 83-80, the Warriors went on a 20-3 run, highlighted by Nemanja Bjelica’s three 3-pointers.
Head Coach Steve Kerr highlighted Porter and Bjelica in his post-game interview saying, “Otto and Bjeli have just given us a totally different dimension from really anything we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Porter’s and Bjeli’s abilities to hit wide open 3-point shots when Rockets defense focus on Curry and Poole, combined with Andre Iguodala’s steady presence, Damion Lee’s versatility, and Gary Payton II’s defensive prowess make up a very formidable Warriors bench.
The hometown crowd was very enthusiastic for an early season game given the Warrior’s early season success and Filipino Heritage Night. Fans wore Philippine-inspired Warrior apparel and were treated to pre-game festivities in the Thrive City Plaza including the popular Filipino food truck, The Lumpia Co. The Bytes and Notes Chorale sung the National Anthem and the Sikaran-Arnis Academy of Philippines Martial Arts performed at halftime.
The Warriors are now 4-1 on this current 8-game homestand.