Photo credit: @warriors
By Jerry Feitelberg
The defending champion Golden State Warriors hosted the rampaging Houston Rockets Thursday night at Oracle Arena. The game was a tale of two halves. The Warriors won the first half by 17 points, and the Rockets won the second half by 17 points to send the game into overtime. The Rockets won the game with just one second left on the clock when the reigning NBA MVP, James Harden, connected on a 3-point shot to put the Rockets ahead for good 135-134.
The Warriors won the first half 70-53 as they had four players in double-figures. Klay Thompson was hot with 19 to lead the team. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry each had 13 and Kevon Looney scored 12 much to the delight of the Warrior fans and head coach Steve Kerr. The Rockets were led by Clint Capela with 16 and James Harden’s 15.
As the fans know, 17-point leads are not difficult to overcome in the NBA. The Warriors increased the lead to 20, but the Rockets were not fazed. James Harden led the Rocket comeback with 13 points in the third quarter. The Warriors’ lead at the end of three periods of play swindled down to 6 points 98-92.
In the fourth quarter, the Rockets cut the deficit to one point as they trailed 102-101. The Warriors’ Jonas Jerebko made two free throws, and he hit a three-pointer to put the Dubs ahead 108-13. The Warriors increased the lead to six 119-113, but the Rockets scored the last six points of regulation to tie the contest at 119.
The Rockets grabbed the early lead in OT 121-119. Curry tied the game at 121. Harden hit another three and Houston led 124-121. Durant made two free throws and a bucket to give the Warriors the lead 125-124. Curry made a 3 and the Warriors lead 128-124 with 2:20 left in overtime. Harden and Austin Rivers each connected on a 3-pointer to go ahead 130-128. Durant and Thompson scored a pair of 2-pointers to put Golden State ahead 132-130. The Rockets tied at 132 and Curry made a bucket to put the Warriors ahead 134-132. Time was running out for Houston. They inbounded the ball to Harden and with one second left on the clock, Harden made a 3-pointer to cement the win. The Warriors inbounded the ball to Durant, but his shot hit the rim, and the game was over.
Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors were led by Steph Curry’s 35 points, including five 3-point shots. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant each finished with 26. Kevon Looney finished with 12. Draymond Green had 9 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Houston was led by Harden’s triple-double. He recorded 44 points, 10 boards, and 15 assists. He made 10 3s. It was the ninth game in a row that Harden had scored more than 35 points. The other big force for Houston was Clint Capela. The Warriors did not have an answer for him. Capela knocked down 29 points and pulled down 21 rebounds. Capela was double teamed most of the night, and the Warriors could not contain him. Also, Capela did not commit a foul until late in the fourth quarter. Austin Rivers had 18, and he made four 3s. Gerald Green connected on three 3s and finished with 16 for the night. Danuel House added 17 for the Rockets.
The Warriors shot 52% from the floor and held Houston to 45.5%. The big stat to keep in mind is that the Rockets made 21 3-point shots. The Warriors connected on 14.
The Warriors, with the loss, drop to 25-14 and Houston improved to 22-15.
Up Next: The Warriors travel to Sacramento to face the Kings Saturday night at 7:00 pm PT.