Posted on May 23, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The Houston Rockets put their fans through an emotional roller coaster Tuesday night during Game Four of the Western Conference Finals. Game Three’s humiliating loss had fans on edge already. Could their team recover? Did they have a chance to do the impossible?
Could they beat the Golden State Warriors on their home court?
Entering the game, the Warriors had not been beaten at home in the postseason since the 2016 NBA Finals. The odds were certainly not in Houston’s favor. When the Warriors got out to a 12-0 lead to start the game, it began to look like another blowout was imminent.
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But after getting off to such a bad start for the first 5+ minutes of the opening quarter, Houston was able to right the ship. They pulled within nine-points by the end of the first and then blew the Warriors out of the water in the second quarter, 34-18.
So, when all looked lost at the start of the game, at the half, Houston was up 53-46. But then it happened again. Steph Curry did what he has been known to do. He went off for 17-points in the third quarter and got the Warriors out to a ten-point lead, 80-70, heading into the fourth.
Then things got strange.
Houston didn’t just play defense; the Rockets played really good defense. The Rockets started the quarter with a 15-4 run to take the lead, 85-84. The game remained close the rest of the way. But with time running out, the Rockets were up 94-92. Klay Thompson got a chance to tie the game up with 2.2 seconds on the clock—but missed.
Chris Paul added a free throw, and Houston won a game they looked like they were going to lose, 95-92.
“I thought this is the highest level we’ve ever played defensively, without a doubt,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game (ESPN), “because we’re talking about the best offensive team ever.”
“I felt like in the fourth quarter we just ran out of gas,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game (ESPN). “Scored 12 points. Tried to buy a little rest for our guys, but yeah, they just outplayed us in the fourth, and they earned it.”
James Harden led the way for the Rockets with 30 points followed by Chris Paul with 27. Clint Capella and P.J. Tucker combined to score just 12 points. But they also combined to pull down 29 of Houston’s 41 rebounds.
Golden State got good overall games from Steph Curry (28 points) and Kevin Durant (27 points and 12 rebounds). But neither shot well from the floor (Curry—10-26; Durant—9-24). Klay Thompson left the game briefly with a knee injury but returned and scored 10-points (4-13 from the floor).
The series will now move back to Houston for Game Five Thursday night at 9 PM ET. Golden State has been made a one-point favorite.