OAKLAND – James Harden drilled a contested 3-pointer with 1.0 seconds remaining in overtime Thursday night to send the Warriors out of Oracle Arena with a 135-134 loss to the Rockets.
Harden’s shot came against the defense of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and the reigning MVP turned toward Green to throw a few words around.
That game-winner capped an 82-64 advantage for Houston after halftime.
Here are three takeaways from a defeat sure to eat at the Warriors beyond this night:
They went into chill mode
After a first half during which they played at a rapid and highly effective pace, building a 17-point lead, the Warriors played it much too cool in the second half.
So cool, in fact, that they let the Rockets back into the game.
Houston, which shot 42.2 percent in the first half, came out in the third quarter and rolled up 39 points on 54.5-percent shooting, 61.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Harden heated up. Gerald Green got it going. Clint Capela kept it going. And the Warriors, all too often, were much too lax.
Houston outscored the Warriors 16-15 in OT.
Capela was too much
Add Rockets center Clint Capela to the list of big men who have torched the Warriors.
Capela had monster game, scoring a career-high-tying 29 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. He was hyperactive and efficient and pretty much had his way with anybody that defended him in the paint.
The Warriors tried four different players – Kevon Kevon Looney, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Jordan Bell – and none were able to keep Capela off the glass, where he accounted for nearly half of Houston’s 48 rebounds.
The Warriors are trying to wait for DeMarcus Cousins. Meanwhile, they are being clobbered inside.
Gifts nine days after Christmas
The Warriors played a fabulous first half in every area except one: turnovers.
They committed 12 in the first 24 minutes, gifting the Rockets with 15 points. The primary culprits were Curry, who committed five in 17 minutes, and Green who tossed away four in 16 minutes.
Houston’s indifferent defense seemingly lulled the Warriors into thinking they could throw the ball anywhere they pleased and achieve excellent results. Sometimes it worked; they scored 70 points in the half.
Other times, though, it looked like sloppy, careless basketball.
The Warriors were much better at taking care of the ball after halftime, but their first-half sloppiness kept them from opening up a margin that might have blown the Rockets off the floor.