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Rockets' 9-game win streak ends with 106-104 loss to Warriors
Posted: March 14, 2019 -- 8:45 a.m. CDT
HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets almost enjoyed a come-from-behind victory in the final minutes Wednesday night. Almost. The Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors 106-104 to snap Houston's 9-game win streak along with a five-game winning streak at home.
"When you're playing against a good team like that or a great team like that you got to play hard and play smart," James Harden said. "Just mentally we had a couple lapses early in the game especially the first quarter, gave them open looks, and that was it."
With the win, the Warriors (46-21) avoid a series sweep by the Rockets and snap a four-game losing streak to Houston in the regular season.
Houston (42-26) trailed 15-7 before an 8-0 run tied the game at 15; however, 3 turnovers and 3 missed shots in the final 4 minutes of the first quarter helped the Warriors lead 33-23 at the end of the opening quarter. Golden State's Steph Curry scored 13 points in the period.
With 5:51 remaining in the second quarter, Houston trailed by 12 (46-34); but, Harden converted a 4 point play then a driving lay-up to kick start an 18-8 run to trim Houston's deficit to 54-52 at halftime. Harden scored 11 points in the second quarter.
Houston tied the game three times in the third quarter; but, after a 67-67 tie, the Warriors used a 12-3 run to lead 79-70 with 4:22 remaining in the third. Houston trailed 85-78 after three quarters.
Golden State led by as much as 14 three times in the fourth quarter; and, Houston trailed by 13 (102-89) with 4:52 remaining in the game clock.
A dunk by Clint Capela followed by a three-point bucket by Eric Gordon cut the Warriors' lead to 8 before Klay Thompson knocked down a 7-foot jumper for a 104-94 Warriors' lead with 3:07 remaining.
Golden State missed three field goals; and, Houston took advantage. Gordon scored a left-handed driving lay-up; Harden drained an 18-foot step-back jumper; Chris Paul sank two free throws. Houston trailed by 4 (104-100) with 47.7 seconds on the clock.
After Curry missed a tough 19-foot jumper, Paul grabbed the miss; raced up the court; scored a 5-foot floater; and was fouled. Paul made the free throw for a 104-103 Warriors' lead with 10.8 ticks remaining.
Golden State called timeout. After the timeout, Curry caught the inbounds pass; took a few dribbles into the middle of the front court; and, was fouled by Capela. Curry sank both free throws. Houston trailed 106-103 with 8 seconds left in the game.
Houston called timeout twice to set up a play. Harden stood in the backcourt before the ball was inbounded. But, before the ball was passed inbounds, Harden got off to a running start into the front court to catch the pass. Golden State's Andre Iguodala fouled Harden before Harden attempted a three-point shot.
Harden went to the line for two foul shots. Harden made the first and missed the second attempt. The missed shot was tipped in the air and bounced into Houston's backcourt. Iguodala got to the ball first before passing to Curry. Curry caught the ball; and, the clock expired.
Golden State's Klay Thompson scored a game-high 30 points while shooting 5-of-10 from 3-point range.
DeMarcus Cousins had his most complete game as a Warrior. Cousins finished with 27 points, 8 boards, and 7 assists in 31 minutes 35 seconds.
"I just think, individually, we did a better job of spacing and getting into situations," Cousins said. "Sometimes, we get on top of each other and sometimes get in each other's way. I think the team did a better job. I don't mean individually. The team did a better job with the spacing. The rhythm was good for me tonight. I got my feet underneath me and it was a smooth game for me. I can't complain."
Curry scored 24 points.
"I just thought where we got beat was too many times that Klay Thompson came off a screen and we were a little bit back," Mike D'Antoni said after the game. "And, we weren't up. Too many times that they missed a shot, they got second offensive rebounds – got a three or kicked it back out, something went on. Just too many times. You can't do that against a championship team like this and that's where we've been successful. Either they missed when we screwed up, which sometimes happens or in the playoffs last year, we just didn't screw up that many times. Tonight, we just had too many mistakes."
Harden led the Rockets with 29 points and 10 assists.
Chris Paul finished with 24 points, six rebounds, and 3 assists.
"We just didn't play smart," Paul remarked. "Simple as that. I think we let their guys get to many shots off. We say it all the time ‘in order to beat them, regardless who's playing, playing hard enough isn't enough’, you've got to play smart."
Houston was outrebounded 44-31 tonight after having the same amount of boards as Golden State over the first three meetings this season. The Warriors outscored the Rockets 15-6 in second chance points. The Rockets have been outrebounded by double-digits 21 times this season after that occurred just six times in 2017-18.
"Yeah, that's me," said Harden. "I got to be better at that. But, I think as a team we got to rebound the basketball. We're so good once we rebound the basketball and get out in transition; but, it makes it difficult no matter who we're playing if we give them 10 second chance opportunities."
Clint Capela had 13 points and 13 rebounds tonight, marking his third straight double-double and his 34th in 53 games played this season. He had 42 double-doubles in 74 games played in 2017-18 after recording 25 in 154 games played over his first three seasons combined.
The Rockets' next game is Friday, March 15, versus the Phoenix Suns, at 7 p.m.
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