Rockets Tie Series At 2-2, Stop Warriors' Home Streak In Playoffs For 95-92 Victory
Houston Bounces Back From 41-point Loss In Game 3
Kevon Looney of the Golden State Warriors battles James Harden of the Houston Rockets for a rebound in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at The Oracle in Oakland, Calif. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. May 22, 2018.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Oakland, Calif. — The Houston Rockets got trashed by 41 points in Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors and their coach questioned their toughness.
For Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets redeemed themselves on both levels by beating the Warriors 95-92 to equal the series 2-2. Houston held the Warriors to 12 points in the fourth quarter, the fewest during the playoffs.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr described the game as “sort of trench warfare.” That response was right on point. Between both teams, eight players played 38 or minutes or more with two players on the floor 44 minutes and beyond.
“It was just everybody grinding it out. Lot of isolation,” Kerr said. “I guess this is the modern NBA. But the only way you can do this, and win, is you have to have great one-on-one players, you have to have great defenders, two-way guys. We do and they do. They did a great job of it and we give them credit.”
Stephen Curry had 28 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Warriors while Kevin Durant contributed 27 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists. Draymond Green added 11 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and two steals.
James Harden had 30 points, four assists, four rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots in the victory. Chris Paul added 27 points four assists, and two rebounds. Paul also made five 3-point shots. Eric Gordon came off the bench to score 14 points for the Rockets.
“The thing you learn in this league, I mean, I’ve had an opportunity to learn in other series from veteran teams like the (San Antonio) Spurs and what not in the past is those losses where you lose by one or two, or if it’s 35-40, it’s a loss,” Paul said. “So you bounce back. Thankfully, we didn’t start this game down 30.”
It was the first time the Rockets beat the Warriors on their turf in the playoffs.
Houston’s starters played 40 or more minutes. Four starters for the Warriors logged 38 or more minutes. Golden State was without the services of Andre Iguodala, who was sidelined with a left lateral leg contusion. Kevon Looney started in place of Iguodala.
The Warriors leaped out to a 12-0 run in the first quarter before the Rockets could open their eyes. Houston was stymied by Golden State’s defense and rebounding. The Rockets missed 13 of 20 shots while the Warriors pulled down 15 rebounds.
Golden State started the second quarter with a 28-19 lead. The Rockets battled all the way back to tied the game 41-41 on a 3-point basket by Paul. The Rockets went on a 12-2 run to lead 53-43, capped off by another trey by Paul.
Houston outscored the Warriors 34-18 in the second quarter and led 53-46 at the break. Houston made 14 free throws while the Warriors made five in the first 24 minutes. Rockets also made seven 3-point shots out of 17 attempts. Harden had 24 first-half points.
In the third quarter, the Warriors defense came back alive. Down 62-57, Curry three straight 3-pointers to give Golden State a 66-62 margin. The Warriors ended the third quarter with an 80-70 lead. Curry scored 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the floor, including 5 of 8 shots beyond the arc.
In the fourth quarter, the deciding quarter, the Warriors’ lead evaporated, they missed 15 of 18 shots from the floor, and misfired on all six attempts behind the 3-point line.
When Golden State trailed 94-92 with 11.6 left to play, Thompson fail to connect on a 16-foot turnaround 2.2 seconds in the game. Paul got the rebound with a split second left and made one of two free throws after he was fouled by Shaun Livingston.
Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni walked backed his comment on calling his team “soft” after Game 3.
“I regret it because I’m up here with a lot of adrenaline and I was disappointed in our overall effort of offense and defense,” D’Antoni said. “They’re not soft. It just we didn’t play with the amount of force that you need. I misspoke and you guys miswrote it,” he said laughing.
The best-of-seven series swing back to Houston for Game 5 on May 24, and then return to Oakland on May 26 for Game 6. Golden State lost its first home game of the playoffs, winning seven in eight tries. But now they are back on the road for a three-game series.
“We were fighting to take a 3-1 series,” Green said. “They were fighting to even the series up and going home. We know we made a lot of mistakes down the stretch in the fourth quarter. We’ll be fine.”
Steve Kerr said before Game 4 that he doesn’t really follow the National League League but he has had his eyes and ears open for the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The first-year expansion team won the Pacific Division title and slipped into the Stanley Cup Playoffs after knocking out the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets.
The Golden Knights are awaiting the winner of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals series. No matter what their status is now, the Golden Knights are the team to beat.
“I'm aware of what’s happening,” Kerr said. “I’m not a hockey fan, but remarkable. An expansion team could be as successful, wildly successful as Vegas has been. I can’t offer you any insight, but I’m happy for them. I’m happy for the community and the players. What an amazing job they’ve done. I didn’t think that was possible with an expansion team. But I guess nobody else did either.”
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.