Balls: Three-point contests have got to go 

That wasn't a playoff game the Warriors lost in Houston on Monday night. It was another 3-point contest, the kind we see in the NBA almost every night these days.

The Warriors and the Rockets combined for 173 field goals, and 78 were from beyond the arc. That's 45 percent or close to half of them.

Balls didn't realize just how 3-ball crazy the league had become until it noticed that even Warriors coach Steve Kerr was 3 of 6 from beyond the arc.

"I don't know the last time I saw 37 made 3's," Rockets counterpart Kevin McHale gasped. "That's been a while for that."

Try never, coach. The number is an NBA postseason record.

Is this really the product the league wants to sell in the years to come?

When James Naismith invented the game, his intent was to reward high-percentage shots close to the basket. Decades later, the American Basketball League adopted the 3-pointer to allow teams to erase large deficits more easily. Even in the shoot-'em-up ABA, the 3-pointer wasn't designed to be the focal point of the offense.

Now the NBA has done a 180 and encourages teams to shoot from farther out to take advantage of the 3-pointer's bloated value. Teams routinely pass up potential layups to hoist 25-footers on fast breaks, for gosh sakes. See, that's the problem — for guys such as the Warriors' Stephen Curry, a 3-pointer does seem to be as easy as a layup sometimes.

Well, Balls says it's time for the league to move the line back a couple or three feet and make it a challenge again. And it can widen the court and take away that ridiculously close 3-pointer in the corners as well.

HARD NIGHT'S MORNING: Game 4 ranks as one of the most bizarre NBA playoff games in recent memory.

While play went on inside the Toyota Center, a flash flood paralyzed the Houston area. Dozens of stranded fans were still inside the building in the wee hours, and if a television crew hadn't offered a ride, Balls might have been one of them.

The Rockets' Dwight Howard was at the arena with his son until 2:30 a.m. because the road to their mansion was out of commission. You know, sort of like his free throw shooting.

NO THINKING KAP: At least three people died in the flood, not that the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick paid any attention.

"I warned you the #7torms coming!!! #Houston" the punky QB said in an Instagram.

After Kaepernick realized what an idiot he had been, he said, "I'm so sorry about my insensitive post earlier today. I didn't fully understand how many people are struggling in Houston right now and I feel horrible. My prayers are with everyone there."

Social media in the hands of professional athletes can be a dangerous thing, indeed.

CRITICS TAKE NOTE: The Warriors have had an easy road in the playoffs from a team standpoint, as their critics like to point out, but Balls can't think of one that has been paired against more elite players.

If the Warriors get past the Rockets (book it) and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next two rounds, they will have beaten every First Team All-NBA selection: Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies), James Harden (Rockets) and LeBron James (Cavaliers). Curry is the fifth one, of course.

The Warriors also will have beaten three of the top five Most Valuable Player picks: Harden (second), James (third) and Davis (fifth).

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Harden and Klay Thompson were prep stars in Southern California, and if not for questions about Thompson's physical stamina, they might have been Arizona State teammates.

Then-Sun Devils assistant coach Scott Pera recruited both late bloomers, but only Harden was extended an offer. Pera had been his coach at Artesia High School.

"I just wasn't sure if physically [Thompson] would be able to hold up in that [Pac-10] league," Pera said per the Houston Chronicle. "Obviously, he could make a shot, but to see what he has become is incredible. ... There were a lot of guys in the Pac-10 at the time that sure wish we would have watched a little closer or been a little smarter."

Thompson attended Washington State instead.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.

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