It would've doomed last season's Rockets, but this season's version has the luxury of putting the ball in the hands of Chris Paul, a nine-time All-Star and a future Hall of Famer, when Harden doesn't have it going.
Eric Gordon's first 3-pointer of the game gave Houston a late five-point lead, and the Rockets held on from there to defeat the Golden State Warriors 95-92 in Oakland, California, on Tuesday night to even the Western Conference finals at two games apiece. It can slow the Rockets down when Paul doesn't have it rolling - as was the case in Game 3, when the Warriors limited him to 13 points on 16 shot attempts - but it makes Houston nearly unguardable when he does.
Considering the Warriors set a record for the most consecutive home wins in playoff history with 16, per ESPN, they are in good shape to win the next game and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. There was some good defence in there to get us back. That same team that hasn't lost in Oakland since LeBron James' block and Kyrie Irving's shot punctuated the greatest Finals comeback in National Basketball Association history almost two years ago.
A replay review ensued and it was determined Shaun Livingston fouled Paul before the game ended, so Paul made a free throw with 0.5 seconds left.
In essence, D'Antoni turned to his six best players, and when the Warriors played Capela, a traditional big man, off the floor, it meant going super-small, with the 6-foot-6 Tucker at center for long stretches.
Every time they leave Green open, alarm bells must ring for the Rockets, searching for Curry darting around on the court.
As much as Game 4 was must-win for Houston, Game 5 will be the same. "I thought we made that great push in the third (quarter) but we weren't really able to make any subs". But Curry is not concerned as he believes the team can get the win with a solid performance and he is confident they know what it takes to win is such situations. Along with Draymond Green, it's Iguodala who provides the Warriors a straight razor to the flashy foam of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.
"So I definitely wish I had that last play back". They scored only 12 points in the final quarter.
Then, the Warriors tried to bury Houston in the third quarter, as they do to most teams.
Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr during the postgame Press Conference.
"We're hoping he can play tomorrow", Kerr said. "They won 65 games for a reason". "I woke up this morning thinking we played that bad in the fourth quarter, lost by three points and played a solid defensive game".
Down 53-46 at halftime two days after a franchise playoff-record 41-point victory in Sunday's 126-85 win, Curry shined in the second half once more.
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