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Warriors, Rockets combine for electric series opener, but Golden State gets the win

The Warriors and Rockets went toe-to-toe, but Golden State prevailed on the back of Kevin Durant’s fantastic game.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets combined for an extremely fun Game 1 in the Western Conference Finals on Monday. James Harden and the Rockets got started with a nice lead, but Golden State quickly recovered and the game was tied going into the half. But the Warriors took over in the third and fourth quarters, ultimately grabbing a 119-106 victory and a 1-0 series lead.

It was all about Kevin Durant for Golden State. He just couldn’t miss, with 37 points, 3 rebounds and an assists. Steph Curry was good, as usual, and did a great job doing a lot of cleanup work while allowing Durant to do his thing. Curry finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists.

Klay Thompson missed some shots he should have made, but still was great, especially down the stretch. He hit six threes and had 28 points.

For Houston, Harden led the way with 41 points, including going 5-of-9 beyond the arc. He also had 4 rebounds and 7 assists. Chris Paul was next with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists for the Rockets.

Game 1 was electric, and everything that we want out of playoff basketball. The Rockets have some answers for the Warriors, they just need to execute on them better. This should be a fun one down the stretch.

Below, you can see our live blog and highlights as the game happened.

Warriors 119, Rockets 106 - FINAL

Harden turnover on a bad pass, and Green gets the steal. He gives it to Iguodala, who also has a turnover, with Ariza getting his first steal. He think hits a layup. Curry makes a layup next, and Paul gets a perosnal foul. Iguodala hits both free throws and moves to 9 points on the game. Harden goes to the line on a Curry shooting foul, and hits two of three frees with two minutes to go. Durant is fouled and sinks both free throws to get to 37 points. Green goes to the line for Golden State, and also makes both free throws after a Paul foul. Paul then makes a layup, and Thompson misses a three with 40 seconds to go. This one is done, for all purposes. Paul hits a layup, and Harden fouls Iguodala, who makes both free throws. The game comes to an end!

Warriors 106, Rockets 96 - 3:54 4Q:

Paul hits his second free throw, and Capela takes the assist from Harden on a big dunk. Durant also missed a jumper in-between those. Durant goes to the line after a Tucker personal foul, and hits both free throws. Curry takes two fouls, and Harden hits a jumper, but time is running out. Thompson misses a contested three. Curry gets his second steal on a Harden turnover. Tucker fouls Iguodala, who makes one of two free throws. Harden makes a three, Curry misses a three, and Thompson hits one before Houston takes a timeout.

Warriors 99, Rockets 88 - 7:29 4Q:

Gordon moves to 13 points, and Paul gets to 3 assists with Gordon’s three to start the fourth quarter. Thompson sinks a three after a miss from both teams. Gordon makes a jumper, and Thompson misses a three. Mbah a Moute misses a three after his own rebound. Paul misses a three, and then Thompson sinks another for Golden State. Paul gets a shooting foul, and Thompson sinks both free throws to move to 25 points. A 7-0 run for Golden State ends on a Harden jump shot. Thompson tries a looooooooong three, and misses, but Durant hit a three of his own before that. Durant gets a shooting foul, and Paul hits a free throw before Golden State takes a timeout.

Warriors 87, Rockets 80 - END 3Q:

Warriors are pulling away here. Durant gets a jumper right after the timeout, a Gordon turnover and a Looney steal setting it up. Gordon gets a foul for an offensive charge. Curry misses a wild three. Gordon sinks a three for Houston, halting a nearly five-minute scoring drought for them. Curry misses a three, then misses a jumper. Iguodala is fouled, and Paul hits two of three free throws. Houston’s Green makes a long three to bring the Rockets within five. Durant hits two free throws after a Nene foul, and the third quarter ends.

Warriors 83, Rockets 72 - 2:41 3Q:

Thompson miss, Green (the other one) foul, Durant miss, Mbah a Moute miss, Mbah a Moute rebound, Gordon three-pointer miss. So things are going well. Houston’s Green gets a shooting foul and Curry sinks the second free throw to break the scoreless drought. Harden goes high for a very nice dunk on the Capela assist. Curry moves to 14 points with a layup. Harden misses a jumper. Looney gets a putback dunk, and the Warriors take a timeout after a couple follow-up misses.

Warriors 78, Rockets 70 - 5:22 3Q:

Thompson makes a three, and Iguodala sinks a jumper, after the timeout. We get another quick timeout shortly after a Curry steal on a bad Harden pass. It’s a Rockets team timeout.

Warriors 73, Rockets 68 - 6:51 3Q:

And we’re underway in the second half! Iguodala hits a two, and Tucker misses a three right on the edge of a fourth shot clock violation. A three for Durant, then a shooting foul — Harden makes both free throws. A Curry bucket and two free throws from Iguodala increase Golden State’s lead, but both Capela and Harden sink shots to keep pace. Durant sinks a jumper, and then sinks another to move to 26 points on the game.

Warriors 56, Rockets 56 - END 2Q:

Curry hits a layup after the timeout, and Paul misses another three for Houston. Thompson gets a shooting foul, and Paul makes one of two free throws. Harden is fouled by Iguodala, another shooting foul, and Harden his both free throws. A 7-0 run made up of primarily free throws ties it up for Houston! Thompson is fouled and sinks both free throws, and Harden moves to 20 points with another three! Durant with a rare miss, and Harden hits a jumper on the Gordon rebound and assist. The half comes to an end!

Also this happened:

Warriors 47, Rockets 42 -4:32 2Q:

Green for Golden State and Ariza for Houston both miss threes after the timeout. Durant moves to 17 points. Green fouls again after Curry sinks a layup. Harden makes one of two free throws. Iguodala misses a three, and Golden State takes a timeout.

Warriors 43, Rockets 41 - 6:56 2Q:

We get three misses to start the second, before Paul hits a three to put his total at 7 points. The Warriors tie the game up and after a bad Mbah a Moute jumper, they have a shot to go up, but Thompson misses the three. They get another shot after another Houston miss though, and take their first lead of the game at 9 minutes. Young sinks a three for Golden State, and Paul hits one of his own for Houston to keep pace! This is a blast. Green is called for an offensive charge and it looked questionable. Ariza hits a three, and Durant moves to 15 points with another fadeaway. Ariza called on a loose ball foul and Houston takes a timeout.

Rockets 30, Warriors 29 - END 1Q:

Harden is replaced by Paul, and he also waived off the training staff, so he should be back in action soon. Paul hits a jumper, and Durant sinks at hree for Golden State. Paul makes a jumper, and Young his his first shot of the game, a three, and a fourth assist for Curry. Golden State is gaining here. Green (the other one) makes a three for the Rockets to keep pace, though. Curry off the court, and Durant hits a jumper. First quarter comes to an end!

Rockets 23, Warriors 19 - 3:17 1Q:

Durant hits a beautiful turnaround fadeaway after the timeout, but Gordon responds with a three for the Rockets. Curry misses, and Capela gets a dunk, prompting a Warriors team timeout. This game feels like it’s moving way faster than it actually is. Curry misses another three after the timeout, and Harden misses next. Durant hits a jumper. Harden beats Curry on the inside, and picks up an assist on a Capela jump shot. Durant hits a two, and Thompson sinks a three as Houston calls a timeout. Harden seems to have got the wind knocked out of him.

Rockets 13, Warriors 10 - 6:48 1Q:

Thompson sinks a three after a pair of missed threes from Paul. Green takes a shooting foul — apparently he’s not afraid of another technical. Tucker makes just one of three free throw attempts. Green rebounds, and Curry puts down his first three of the game. Harden misses a reverse layup, and Ariza misses a three after the rebound, and we get a timeout.

Rockets 12, Warriors 4 - 9:06 1Q:

And we’re off! Harden hits a three to start the game. Jump ball, and Curry gains possession, missing a loooooooong three. Harden rebounds and hits a jumper. And there’s already a technical on Green for shoving Harden. Less than two minutes in! Harden sinks the free throw. The Warriors finally get on the board when Curry lays one up. Harden gets possession and sinks another three, a long one too. Big block from Iguodala, but the follow-up three attempt from Thompson misses. Green rebounds and sinks one, though.

The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets will play in the most anticipated postseason matchup of the year on Monday in the Western Conference Finals. James Harden, Chris Paul, and Mike D’Antoni’s high-octane offense may be the biggest threat to the Warriors’ run for another title.

The Rockets won the team’s regular-season matchups, 2-1, though Houston’s one loss came with both Harden and Kevin Durant sidelined to injury. With every star healthy, the Rockets won two games by a combined nine points. This series is destined to be close if the regular season is any indication.

The Rockets are also surprisingly the No. 1 seed with a 65-17 record, seven games better than the Warriors.

“It’s been a while since we’ve started out a series on the road — you kind of forget that feeling,” Draymond Green said, according to ESPN. “We got a couple of swings to go in there and take one. So I’m looking forward to that for sure.”

Golden State has real competition en route to the Finals. Even for this team of superstars, nothing is a given.

Rockets vs. Warriors Game 1

Date: May 14

Time: 9 p.m. ET

Where: Toyota Center, Houston


Stream: WatchTNT