Rockets Defeat Warriors, Stave Off Elimination


Houston Rockets 128
Golden State Warriors 115

The Houston Rockets controlled the action Monday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, behind a 45-point effort by James Harden, to topple the Golden State Warriors 128-115 and fend off a series sweep.

Harden, who shot 13-of-22 from the field, added nine rebounds and five assists in the win.

Dwight Howard dunks over Warriors guard Stephen Curry Monday night during the Houston Rockets 128-115 win against Golden State. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

Dwight Howard dunks over Warriors guard Stephen Curry Monday night during the Houston Rockets 128-115 win against Golden State. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

While the Warriors missed their first five shots of the game, the Rockets opened on a 12-0 run just three minutes into play. A three-point jumper by Harrison Barnes finally got the Warriors on the board with 8:45 to go in the first quarter.

Josh Smith scored 12 of his 20 points in the opening quarter, as the Rockets jumped out to a 45-22 lead. He finished the game 7-of-8 shooting and added two blocks on the defensive end.

The second quarter was the Klay Thompson show as the feisty shooting guard tried to get the Warriors back into the game. He scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including four made three-pointers, as the Warriors outscored the Rockets 37-24 in the quarter, but they still went into the locker room at halftime trailing by 10.

After halftime, the Rockets continued to push the pace offensively, maintaining a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half. A three-pointer by Draymond Green pulled the Warriors to within nine points with 6:26 remaining in the third quarter.

The Rockets followed with a 15-2 run, extending their lead to 22 points with under three minutes to play in the third quarter, and took a 99-84 advantage into the final period of play.

In the fourth quarter, Stephen Curry closed the gap to six points with a three-pointer, making the score 104-98 with over 8 minutes remaining in regulation. But once again, the Rockets countered with a run, scoring 10 consecutive points and opening a commanding 16-point lead.

The Rockets would go on to win by a final score of 128-115.

Beyond Harden’s dynamic performance, the Rockets received strong offensive play from Josh Smith, with his 20 points, and Dwight Howard who scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

The Warriors offensive effort was led by Thompson who finished with a team-high 24 points. Thompson and Curry each shot 6-of-13 on three-pointers, as Curry added 23 points in the loss. Draymond Green chipped in with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and a game-high five blocks.

With the win, the Rockets force a Game 5 Wednesday night in Oakland. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 PM ET.