The Houston Rockets have tied their second-round series vs. the Warriors 2-2 after a 112-108 victory in Game 4 on Monday. It came down to the wire, with Houston surviving a pair of great looks from beyond the arc from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry in the last 11 seconds of the game with the Rockets clinging to a three-point lead to preserve their victory.
James Harden came up big despite a blood-filled left eye as he scored 38 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Harden's huge double-double was enough to offset Durant's 34-point effort and Curry's own 30-point performance. Now that the Rockets have defended their home court, they'll look to take control of this series as they travel to Oracle Arena in Oakland for a pivotal Game 5.
Below are some key takeaways from Houston's Game 4 victory:
A championship response
It would've been so easy for the Rockets to let down after losing the first two games of this series. Instead, they have shown, once again, they are a championship-caliber team whether they eventually get by the Warriors or not. Fact is, 93.5 percent of teams that go down 2-0 in a seven-game series go on to lose the series. The Rockets, for all their belief in playing in a manner that puts the numbers on their side, are suddenly in position to be one of the 6.5 percent. This team is analytically obsessed. But it's tough as hell, too, and that's harder to measure.
Harden's got it going
James Harden struggled, by his standards, through the first seven games of the playoffs, including the first two against Golden State, the second of which saw him sustain a lacerated eyelid. Unfazed, over these last two wins over Golden State he's scored 79 points -- 41 and 38, respectively.
He's just 11 for 30 from three and a pedestrian 44 percent from the field, but he's back to getting the shots he wants and attacking mismatches rather than settling. He's not flopping for calls. He's getting to the rim rather than pulling up soft for his new-favorite floater shot. He even threw in a Euro-step for old times sake in Game 4. Harden's percentages don't always tell the same story as they do with other players. He's a volume scorer by design. It's how the Rockets win. And it's back to working for them.
Close, yet so far away
The Warriors had two great looks to tie the game in the closing seconds. First, Kevin Durant popped wide open at the top of the key for an absolute cookie, and then, on the offensive rebound, Stephen Curry got another clean look from the left wing.
That's two of the greatest shooters in NBA history with as good of looks as you can hope for in that situation. That's how close the Warriors were to sending this game to overtime after Harden did them a favor and missed what would've been an almost certain game-sealing free throw on the previous possession.
And yet, the Warriors weren't really as close as those two shots would indicate. Houston outplayed them. This series is dead even, on the scoreboard and, perhaps more importantly, in the way it feels.
Curry's shot still not there
Curry was aggressive in getting to the basket early and it got him off to a great start with 11 first-quarter points. But his 3-pointers just still aren't falling. Curry finished 4 for 14 from deep in Game 4 and is now 12 for 46 -- 26 percent -- from three for the series. He threatened to get hot a couple of times in the game with some two-point buckets, but every time he stepped out the faucet turned off. This is about as extended a cold-shooting streak as we've seen from Curry in the playoffs, and he's running out of time to turn it around.
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Here's how to watch Game 4 between the Warriors and Rockets.
How to watch Game 5
- Date: Wednesday, May 8
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Oracle Arena -- Oakland, California
- TV channel: TNT
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: fuboTV (try it for free)
- Odds: N/A
Odds and Analysis
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