With a chance to take full control of the series, the Houston Rockets came up short in a 104-99 Game 5 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday night, in the Oracle Arena in Oakland. With the loss, the Rockets now trail the Warriors 3-2 as they head back to Houston for Game 6.
With 1:25 remaining in the first quarter, Draymond Green rose over the top of Chris Paul and drained a contested 3-point shot. The made field goal bucket by Green was an example of how everything seemed to click for the Warriors during the first half.
Led by Kevin Durant who scored 20 points within the first 24 minutes, the Warriors took full advantage of the Rockets early struggles and held a 57-43 lead into the halftime break.
Although their first-half dominance was a result of a total team effort, Klay Thompson came out and set the tone early for the Warriors. After averaging 15.3 points on 38.4 percent shooting from the field, the Rockets had no answer for one half of the Splash Brothers as Thompson scored 17 of his 27 points in the first half.
Despite the Warriors hot start, the Rockets weather the storm to cut their 20-point deficit down to one midway through the third quarter. With a little over two minutes remaining in the quarter, Durant left the game after suffering a non-contact leg injury and did not return. With Durant out, the Rockets took full control as James Harden scored 12 of his 31 points in the third to even the game at 72 points heading into the fourth.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, Houston failed to capitalize on a wounded Warriors team. Stephen Curry led Golden State to victory as he scored 16 of his 25 points following Durant’s exit. Outside of Harden, it seemed as if no one on the Rockets came ready to play except for P.J. Tucker. In the loss, Tucker recorded a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Chris Paul was a no-show as the future Hall-of-Famer recorded 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field, 0-for-6 from behind the arc. Despite ending the game with 19 points, it was a subpar performance by Eric Gordon as he shot 3-for-10 from deep.
On the verge of another elimination by the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets will return home for a Game 6 showdown, Friday night in the Toyota Center in Houston. Tip-off TBD.