The Houston Rockets evened the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors in an incredible game 4 on Tuesday. It was a hugely back-and-forth game, with long scoring runs for both teams. It looked at first like the Warriors were going to dominate, but the Rockets ended up coming back and squeaked out a 95-92 victory. The series is 2-2 and anything can happen at this point.
James Harden had 30 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists for the Rockets. Chris Paul had 27 points, two rebounds and an assist. He also hit five shots from range. It was an ugly game overall though, with Houston shooting 31.6 percent from range and 39.0 percent overall.
In the first Golden State home playoff loss since the 2016 NBA Finals, Steph Curry had 28 points, including going 6-of-13 from range. Kevin Durant had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Rockets came out in the first quarter looking like they’d given up. They missed shot after shot, and fell down 12-0. At one point, Harden had a wide open three, nobody even kind of close to him, and he just froze.
But something happened in the second quarter: the Rockets, and Harden especially, remembered how to play basketball. Not only that: they remembered how to play it extremely well. The buckets started falling in their favor, and the Warriors seemed to get overwhelmed. Harden dunked on Draymond Green so hard, he’s probably still feeling it.
Klay Thompson left the court briefly with a leg injury, and he was missed. The Warriors had five turnovers in the second quarter alone. By the end of the second, Harden had 24 points while Curry had just 8.
Then in the third, it swung again, with the Warriors taking the lead, and going up by 10 points. But in the fourth, the Rockets put together a 9-0 run and made things incredibly close with time running out. It got chippy, it got rough, and just about everyone on the court was aggressive. It ended with a Rockets win, a tied series and a whole lot of intrigue.
Below, you can see the live blog as it happened, including highlights and more.
Rockets 95, Warriors 92 - FINAL
Paul has a loose ball foul, and Green makes one of two free throws. Ariza gets the rebound and they’re running out the clock. Harden misses a three, Green gets the rebound, but the Warriors can’t get a shot off, as time expires. Houston wins! Or maybe not. There’s 00:00.5 on the clock, and the Warriors got a foul off. Paul makes one of two free throws, and the Warriors will have an attempt at a shot. They try it, but don’t get it. And the game is over!
Rockets 94, Warriors 91 - 0:42 4Q:
Curry makes a free throw. Harden misses a three, Curry misses a jumper, and Gordon hits a three for the Rockets. Curry then has another turnover, but Harden misses the three. Durant hits both free throws after the Gordon foul. Gordon’s three misses. Thompson and Curry both miss threes. Shot clock turnover for Houston. Lots of misses here near the end.
Rockets 91, Warriors 88 - 3:18 4Q:
Paul sinks a three, and Durant is good for two. Gordon misses a three after yet another bad pass from Green, and Gordon misses the follow-up three as well. Ariza finally hits a three with an assist from Paul. Durant hits both free throws after an Ariza foul. Ariza then hits two free throws after a Bell foul. Curry misses a three, then Paul misses a three. Durant, also, misses a three. Houston has the lead, and Harden moves to 30 points with a layup. Durant misses a three, and Thompson gets his third personal. Gordon hits both of his free throws, and Houston has a five-point lead with just under 3:30 to go. Curry drives for a layup, and it’s good, and he’s also fouled by Harden.
"I'm gonna be the meme of the night, aren't I?" pic.twitter.com/sIquJRGbzR— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 23, 2018
Warriors 82, Rockets 79 - 7:58 4Q:
Capela has a nice block on a Curry layup. Livingston has a turnover, and Houston’s Green misses the three. Linvgston dunks one off the Curry assist, and Paul hits a fadeaway jumper to get back within 10. Capela hits the finger foll and has seven points. Young fouls, and Capela sinks the free throw. Green misses a three for Houston, and Durant misses a three for Golden State. Paul hits a jumper, and it’s getting closer! The Warriors take a timeout with a tenuous lead.
Warriors 80, Rockets 70 - END 3Q:
After the timeout, Curry hits another three, followed by aPaul three, followed by a Curry layup. Paul misses a three, and Tucker also misses a three. Thompson sinks one, Tucker misses another and Durant hits a pullup jumper. Another Houston timeout. After that timeout, Harden makes a layup to move to 28 points. Curry misses a three. Bell tips alayup in after a Thompson miss. Houston’s Green hits a three off the Tucker assist. Curry hits another three. Then Curry gets the steal on Harden, and misses a layup. Durant hits the fadeaway after the Thompson rebound. The third comes to an end and this game has swung the other way again!
Warriors 63, Rockets 62 - 5:19 3Q:
After the timeout, Harden misses at hree, and Durant gets the rebound. He feeds Curry, who drains a three. Ariza then has a lost ball turnover, and Curry drains along three from range, and the Warriors are back ahead. Houston takes a timeout!
Rockets 62, Warriors 57 - 6:21 3Q:
Ariza makes one of two free throws after a Looney shooting foul. Curry hits a three off a Looney assist, and Houston has a shot clock turnover. Durant can’t hit the turnaround jumper, and Harden misses a three. Looney drops in a layup, and Capela nails a hook shot. Paul takes a shooting foul and Green sinks both free throws for the Warriors. Paul gets a fadeaway jumper. Harden misses a three. Durant hits a fadeaway. Paul misses a layup, and Durant gets the rebound, but commits a turnover with ab ad pass. Gordon makes both free throws after a Thompson foul. Curry misses a three, Harden makes a floating jumper. Bell dunks. Green fouls, his second personal and his fourth turnover, and the Warriors take a timeout.
Rockets 53, Warriors 46 - END 2Q:
Paul hits a three, and then hits a free throw to tie the game. Durant misses a jumper, Harden misses a three, and Thompson hits a three. Then Paul makes one, and Green misses one. Another Looney foul, and Tucker puts down both free throws for a Houston lead. Bad pass from Young, and Paul hits a layup off the Harden assist. Harden gets the steal from Durant, and dunks it. Thompson and Young both miss threes, and and Paul sinks one. Durant is fouled at range, and he hits all three of his free throws. Harden misses a three, then ajumper, and the half ends with Curry being blocked by Harden.
Warriors 41, Rockets 37 - 3:52 2Q:
Thompson is back on the bench after leaving the court with an apparent injury. It’s a left knee strain, according to the broadcast. After the timeout, Harden hits a big three. Green has a bad pass, and Harden dunks over him. Like, bad. A huge dunk. Green might as well retire. There’s no recovering from that.
Sorry Draymond, you're on a James Harden poster nowpic.twitter.com/cu1daa5buw— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 23, 2018
Thompson is back on the court, and misses a jumper. Harden misses a three, and Curry hits a layup to move to 8 points on the game. Harden sinks two free throws after Curry’s third personal. Durant is no-good with the jumper, Looney rebounds, Durant misses again, Looney rebounds. Looney misses this time, and Capela rebounds. Gordon miss. Capela foul. Cook foul. Capela misses a free throw, but makes the second one. Thompson makes a three, with the assist from Durant, and Houston takes a timeout. This one is heating up!
Warriors 36, Rockets 28 - 6:43 2Q:
Gordon hits a layup to start the second, after Capela got a nice blcok on Thompson. Linvgonston gets a steal, but Curry misses the layup. Harden misses a jumper, gets his own rebound, gets blocked by Green, gets his own rebound again, and then misses a jumper. Livingston gets the rebound and dunsks it. Paul misses a layup, Curry can’t sink the three. Gordon misses a three. Harden sinks two free throws after a Bell shooting foul. Green hits al ayup after a Curry miss. Paul hits a fadeaway, Green misses a three, Young hits a layup, Harden hits a three, and Linvgston gets his second personal. Warriors take a timeout.
Warriors 28, Rockets 19 - END 1Q:
Durant misses a fadeaway jumper, and Capela gets the rebound. He dishes to Harden, but Bell gets the steal. Durant hits the fadeaway this time. Harden also took his first personal, and Durant put down the ensuing free throw. Gordon gets a dunk for Houston, and Looney fouls, allowing Gordon to sink his free throw attempt. Tucker blocks a Durant jumper, but Durant gets his own rebound and puts it in for 10 points. Capela misss a layup, Young misses a three, Durant fouls and Capela hits both free throws. Bell tips in a layup after Looney missed the tip-in of Livingston’s jumper. Bell has ab ig block on a Capela layup, but Houston gets the rebound and Gordon is good for two just as the first quarter ends.
Warriors 21, Rockets 12 - 2:36 1Q:
Durant misses a jumper, and Harden makes one. Durant misses another one, but Gordon gets the ball stolen by Green, who finger rolls it in. Gordon misses a three, Harden gets a steal but hesitates — it was two-on-two and Harden froze for some reason. Instead, it was passed around, and Tucker missed a three just before the shot clock expired. Durant makes a fadeaway for the Warriors, and Paul misses a three. Curry hits a layup, and Gordon gets his first personal. Curry makes his free throw. Harden drills a three. Durant feeds Green, who dunks it on the next possession. Harden hits a layup. Bell is called for goaltending and the Warriors take another timeout.
Warriors 12, Rockets 2 - 6:42 Q1:
Tucker gets the steal off of Green, dishes it to Harden and ... yes, yes I do believe we have POINTS FOR THE ROCKETS, PEOPLE. Warriors take a quick timeout.
Warriors 12, Rockets 0 - 7:06 Q1:
The Warriors get the tip, and Thompson makes a quick jumper to kick things off.Curry gets a steal off Capela and drains a three, to much applause. Ariza and Harden both miss jumpers, and then Capela misses one after Thompson misses a three. Green had a turnover in there as well, a bad pass. Looney hits a layup and the Warriors are up, 7-0. Missed three from Paul, a missed bucket from Tucker, and Curry fouls before Golden State can increase the lead. Harden nearly gets a steal from Curry, but Curry puts a move on him and can’t sink the three. Green makes a layup, and Ariza misses a three. Durant sinks a three, and Houston takes a timeout. Yikes.
The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets will play Game 4 of their Western Conference Finals series Tuesday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland. With the Rockets down 2-1 after an embarrassing 41-point loss on Sunday, now is the time to recover before it’s too late.
Stephen Curry came to life in Game 3, scoring 35 points on 23 shots, and Kevin Durant scored 25. Houston can’t expect to win if it lets the Warriors’ biggest threats run rampant again. Draymond Green also had a 10-point, 17-rebound, and six-assist night, while Klay Thompson had 13. The Warriors’ offense exploded.
Warriors vs. Rockets Game 4
When: May 22
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Stream: Watch TNT
Game 4 might be a bit different though. The team has listed Andre Iguodala as questionable due to a left lateral leg contusion, which could ease Golden State’s stifling defense a bit. Perhaps his absence could free up production for Rockets’ wings like Trevor Ariza or P.J. Tucker, who followed up a stand-out Game 2 performance with a Game 3 dud. James Harden can’t do this alone.
Regardless of who shows up, this is go time for a Rockets team which many think is the only hope of dethroning the Warriors. Going down 3-1 only works for LeBron James against this team. Tuesday night is vital.