The Houston Rockets will take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Monday night. After the Warriors went up 2-0 in the series, Houston responded with a 126-121 victory over its Western Conference rivals on Saturday. It took overtime to defeat the defending champions, but a win at home is what the Rockets desperately needed. It was a back and forth battle between Kevin Durant and James Harden. The two former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates each led their teams in scoring, as Harden’s 41 points were just enough to outlast Durant’s 46 point performance.
Gordon Leads Rockets
Eric Gordon matched Harden’s team-high 45 minutes in Saturday’s victory, and was exactly what the Rockets needed in a pivotal Game 3. Gordon rained in seven 3-pointers on 10 attempts, as he went on to finish with 30 points. Chris Paul (14) and Clint Capela (13) combined for 27 points, while the Houston shooting guards did a vast majority of the work. Paul tacked on eight rebounds and seven assists, while Capela also recorded 11 rebounds. P.J. Tucker led the Rockets with 12 rebounds.
The Rockets won the battle on the boards, as Houston outrebounded Golden State 67-48. Capela is a beast on the boards and the Warriors put out a relatively small starting five with Durant being their tallest man.
If the Rockets can find a way to feed off of their home crowd and even up the series at 2-2, then the tone of the series could change. Right now the Warriors are still in the driver’s seat with home court advantage and four of the best players in the NBA. Houston has seemed to have figured out a formula to slow down Curry and Thompson, but Durant has been showing out in this series averaging a playoff-high 35.6 points per game.
Durant Putting up Numbers
Durant was everything that the Warriors needed, but when Stephen Curry (17) and Klay Thompson (16) combine for 33 points, things don’t always go as planned. Instead, Draymond Green went off for a triple-double in which he recorded 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Green has certainly stepped up his production in the postseason, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Golden State and the defense just wasn’t there on Saturday. Curry and Thompson combined to shoot 13-of-39 from the field in Saturday’s loss. The “Splash Brothers” combined for just four triples, which is relatively low for what NBA fans are accustomed to see from them.
Rockets Even Series
The good news for Rockets fans is that Harden’s eye seems to be fine considering he is still scoring 41 points in a game. His 30.5 points per game in the playoffs are third-most in the postseason and if he can keep matching Durant’s production then that will keep games close. In Game 4 – we are taking the Rockets. Bet Houston -1.5. The winner of this series will take on the winner of the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers. Denver just evened up the series with a victory on Sunday, as their next game against Denver will be played on Tuesday.