What a game! The Rockets came back from a Stephen Curry-fueled beatdown by the Warriors in the third quarter to win the fourth quarter 25-12 and tie the series up at 2-2, with Game 5 set for Thursday in Houston. I’m not sure any of us saw this coming, especially after Curry went crazy in the third quarter and led the Warriors to a 34-17 stanza, and a seemingly insurmountable lead.
The Rockets were led by James Harden’s 30 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers on 11-of-26 shooting, while Chris Paul, who may be playing on a tender foot for the rest of these playoffs, stepped up with 27 points, two rebounds, four assists, a steal and five 3-pointers on 10-of-20 shooting. Outside of those two, there wasn’t a lot to be thrilled about in Houston, outside of the huge win. However, P.J. Tucker stepped up with 16 rebounds, two steals and two blocks despite his 0-of-4 shooting (he was 4-of-4 from the line), Clint Capela added eight points, 13 boards and two blocks, and Trevor Ariza hit a big 3-pointer late to finish with nine points, three rebounds, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers. Eric Gordon was also solid with 14 points and a 3-pointer, despite hitting just 4-of-14 shots, and 1-of-8 from downtown. The defensive effort wasn’t lost on Mike D’Antoni: “I thought this was the highest level we’ve ever played defensively, without a doubt,” he said. “Because we’re talking about the best offensive team ever.” And yeah, that sounds weird coming from the greatest offensive-minded coach I’m familiar with.
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The Warriors got 28 points, six boards, two assists, two steals and six 3-pointers on 10-of-26 shooting from Stephen Curry, who also hit three straight 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Kevin Durant had 27 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and a 3-pointer on 9-of-24 shooting. While it looked like the Warriors put this game away with their incredible third quarter performance, they also missed their final five shots in the fourth quarter and saw their home playoff-winning streak end at 16 straight games with tonight’s loss. Draymond Green filled the stat sheet, as usual, with 11 points, 13 rebounds, eight dimes, two steals and a block, despite hitting just 4-of-8 shots, and Klay Thompson, fighting through a left knee injury that briefly sent him to the locker room, added 10 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers, hitting just 4-of-13 shots. Andre Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, was out for this one with a bruised leg, which obviously hurt the Warriors. He’s questionable for Game 5 in Houston on Thursday. Kevon Looney started in his place and had four points, six rebounds, one assist and one block, hitting just 2-of-6 shots. Despite the absence of Iguodala, the Warriors only got six points out of Jordan Bell, four points out of Shaun Livingston and two points out of Nick Young, all off the bench.
Eastern Conference Finals
Tonight, we get Game 5 of the Celtics and Cavaliers, who are tied 2-2, in Boston, and let me just say it: It’s a must-win situation for the Celtics. And I think they’ll pull it out. If they don’t, LeBron James and the Cavaliers should be in the Finals again, which would be LeBron’s eighth straight trip. Wow.