CP3 added 11 rebounds to create a double-double and led a team who had a very strong night. James Harden looked more like himself as he played 34 minutes, scoring 22 points and dishing out eight assists.
The dynamic duo were two of five Rockets in double figures, as Luc Mbah a Moute (14 points), Clint Capela (18 points) and P.J. Tucker (12 points) also reached that plateau.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Rockets held a slim 92-91 lead and the teams traded buckets for most of the fourth quarter. No team had a lead larger than four until the 1:05 mark where Harden hit a dagger from the three-point line that sealed the victory for Houston.
This certainly was a back-and-forth affair as the Warriors also showed up to the fight. The team did shoot 48.8 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond three, sinking 17 of 36 threes. Kevin Durant led the team with 26 points and Draymond Green complemented with 21 points.
However, tonight was not Golden State’s best effort. The Splash Brothers both had off nights, shooting 9-31 from the field. The team also turned the ball over 19 times, often throwing long, errant passes from the opposite side of the court.
Houston also out-rebounded Golden State 46-33 and it was definitely where the game was won and lost. Ryan Anderson led all Rockets with 13 boards and was a monster on the glass tonight. 12 of the team’s rebounds came on the offensive end, which led to second chance points. This is the one place where the Rockets have a clear edge over the Warriors, and tonight was Exhibit A.
Tonight proved that the Rockets are very much a worthy challenger of the Warriors and that is important heading into the second half of the season. After tonight’s win, the Rockets have won the season series and will win the tiebreaker if the Rockets and Warriors happen to be tied at season’s end. Currently, the Rockets now sit 3.5 games behind the Warriors, though the Rockets have played three less games than the Warriors.
Tonight exuded a lot of confidence for the Rockets and hopefully that can parlay into this stretch of games before the All-Star Break. Monday night, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green will return from suspension, marking the first time the Rockets will have their full team healthy and available since the season opener.
The Rockets host the Miami Heat and tips off at 7:00 PM CT.