Posted on February 24, 2019, by Travis Pulver
To beat the Golden State Warriors, teams have to bring their ‘A’ game. Even when the Warriors do not, they are still good enough to beat most of the NBA. For the Houston Rockets, that means getting the ball into the hands of James Harden early and often.
But Saturday night, when the Rockets took on the Warriors, they couldn’t do that. Harden was forced to sit out the game due to a shoulder/neck injury along with the flu.
“He might’ve played even with a sore neck, he had a little touch of the flu. It was a combination of everything,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game.
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When fans heard the news, they were probably a little worried. Harden wasn’t lying when he said earlier in the week that he scores like he does because the team needs him to. What on Earth would they do against the Warriors without him?
As it turns out—win.
The Rockets got off to a hot start with a 15-0 run to take a very early lead. Shots eventually started to fall for the Warriors. But Houston still held 15-point advantage at the end of the first, 35-20. Golden State’s deficit stretched out to 20-points during the second before a late push cut the deficit to seven points, 61-54.
A 10-2 run to start the third quarter put the Warriors ahead, 64-63. But this time it was the Rockets making a late push to regain the lead, 92-86, heading into the final quarter.
Houston led by double digits for most of the fourth, but in the final minutes Klay Thompson and Steph Curry managed to cut the deficit from ten down to four 114-110. But Golden State couldn’t get any closer. The Rockets went on to win, 118-112.
Eric Gordon ended up leading the Rockets with 25 points followed by Chris Paul who had 23 to go with 17 assists. Kenneth Faried recorded a double-double with 20 points and ten rebounds and P.J. Tucker chipped in 18.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 29 followed by Steph Curry with 25 and Klay Thompson with 20. DeMarcus Cousins recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
With the win, the Rockets will win the season series with the Warriors. They are currently 3-0 against Golden State having beaten them by 21 points earlier in the season, by one in overtime back in early January, and by six-points Saturday night.
Golden State will try not to get swept by the Rockets when they travel to Houston for a game on March 13.
Houston will have Sunday off, but return home to face the Atlanta Hawks Monday night. Golden State will head out to the East Coast for a Monday night-game with the Hornets in Charlotte.