Harden: Game 4 Win Was No Surprise


That's the situation now, following the dramatic come-from-behind victory by Houston in Game 4. The last time Golden State lost two games in a single series was the 2016 NBA Finals, where the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 series deficit to win the championship.

The Houston Rockets, powered by James Harden's 30 points and 27 from Chris Paul, edged out defending National Basketball Association champions Golden State 95-92 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to level their semi-final play-off series at two wins each. It looked like something straight out of a Knicks-Heat series from two decades ago - a Greco-Roman wrestling match.

The Warriors trailed by three with 1:30 remaining in the game.

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Here, Curry comes around the screens on the right wing to receive the pass from Shaun Livingston.

It's a huge opportunity for Harden and Paul, who've both had their fair share of playoff disappointments in the past, but combined to score 57 points Tuesday's 95-92 win that put the top-seeded Rockets back in the driver's seat in this series. Though Thompson returned, he didn't look the same and was only a tangential contributor thereafter. The team finished the regular season with the NBA's highest point differential, not to mention a league-leading 65 wins, and thus were not used to such physically and emotionally draining games. "So everybody has their role and some play a bigger role - bigger meaning they shoot the ball more so we as a society give them a bigger role - but everybody is just as important". Here, the ball gets swung to Green in the right corner, and Ariza rotates away from Durant to close out on Green.

Here, Harden gets the iso against Warrior big man Kevon Looney on the right wing, nearly in the corner. The Rockets can not allow the Warriors to get going in transition.

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Those plays are ultimately why the Rockets traded for Paul before the season. After a slumberous Game 3, James Harden exploded for 24 in the first half of Game 4. The Rockets' stars also were flat-out tougher. The franchise broke its own record for 3-pointers made in a season this year.

The ideal focus required to play Golden State also wasn't there on the defensive end for Houston in the first quarter.

Who doesn't love to play a little Jeopardy? None other than Harden. Durant, Curry, and Thompson are allowed more room to operate. Theirs is a wounded, hurting community that needs something to cheer and get its collective mind off the tragedies of last year's flooding and last week's school shooting.

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