Houston was written off pre-game after the news that James Harden would sit tonight’s game with a cervical strain.
However, the Rockets did not listen to the noise.
The team started the game on the right foot, leading 15-0 after the first four minutes. The lead jumped to as high as 20 in the first half as the Rockets shocked the Warriors.
The Rockets grabbed the lead thanks in large part to Chris Paul, the team’s leader with Harden out of the lineup.
CP3 displayed a master class this evening in passing with a season-high 17 assists. It was arguably Paul’s greatest game this season, and maybe in his Rockets career. He added 23 points on four triples and drove the bus all night long.
CP3 is one of those players with infectious energy, something that also can be said about Kenneth Faried.
Faried drew the start tonight with Harden out, and performed his best in Rockets red.
The Manimal dropped 20 points and grabbed 10 boards in 33 minutes.
P.J. Tucker also had himself a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Faried and Tucker crashed the glass all night along with Clint Capela, who notched a game-high 15 boards with eight points in his second game back from injury.
The Rockets jumped out to a lead but it was all erased by the third quarter when the Warriors took a 64-63 lead with 9:54 in the third.
Just when it looked like the Warriors were going to run away with the game with another infamous third quarter run, it was the Rockets who ran away.
An 11-0 run put the Rockets ahead by nine and in the lead for good.
The leading scorer for the night was Eric Gordon, who tallied a team-high 25 on 8-20 shooting.
For the Warriors, Kevin Durant led the team with 29 points and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson knocked down 25 and 20 respectively, but it was not enough.
Draymond Green left the game in the second half with an ankle injury.
The Warriors did not play poorly tonight. The team shot better than the Rockets from the field and from distance, but the Rockets simply were better.
Houston committed fewer turnovers and found themselves on the free throw line. The team had no room for error, and the team did not err. It was close to a perfect night for the Rockets.
Tonight marks the first time that the Warriors lost starting their “Death Lineup.” The team was 10-0 previously when Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and DeMarcus Cousins started on the floor.
The win tonight without Harden is definitely a confidence boost for the Rockets. The game was a must-win for the Rockets after blowing large leads in two of their last three losses. The team blew another large lead this evening but bounced back strong.
With the win, the Rockets also clinched the season series over the Warriors three games to none. The teams will meet on March 13 at Toyota Center.
The Rockets will head back home to face the Hawks on Monday. Tipoff is at 7 PM CT.