The anticipated matchup of the Western Conference’s two stellar teams has arrived. Many questions could be asked pre-match as to how will the game plan out. Will James Harden carry on his scintillating shooting form? Or will Steph Curry and co overpower the Rockets attempt at victory.
The first quarter started out as many expected with the Warriors taking the lead however, what was not expected is who contributed to a number of points in the early stages of the game which was Kevon Looney. The Rockets were keeping up the offensive juggernauts of the Warriors as James Harden, Danuel House Jr. and Clint Capela were all making early shots. Even though the Rockets were only slightly behind, they would have gone into the second quarter quite deflated their starman James Harden was missing quite a few shots however he did make up for it by getting to the free-throw line consistently. The Warriors capitalised on these missed shots and quickly accumulated a 12 point advantage going into the second quarter.
The second quarter began how the first quarter ended and that was with Warrior dominance. Klay Thompson began to find his rhythm finishing with 19 points before the half. Perhaps the Warriors most important player, Steph Curry, started the game shooting 0-3 before he found his shooting stroke hitting 3 field goals in a row, one being an impressive and one. Clint Capela still impressed for the Rockets with James Harden still in a slight shooting slump shooting 4-11 before the half. Even though the Warriors were making silly turnovers, the Rockets could not jump on this advantage and ended up slumping to a 17 point deficit at halftime.
Coming out for the third quarter, the Rockets had a point to prove and started off sharply as they were making shots that were not falling in the first half. Players such as; Gerald Green and Austin Rivers made their impact on the game as they were slowly shortening the gap between the teams. Steph Curry started to make his trademark 3 pointers and James Harden was hitting back with his trademarked stepbacks to not allow the Warriors to increase their advantage. This proved to wear the Warriors down as the Rockets managed to outscore the Rockets by 11 points bring the score between the two teams down to 6.
An eagerly anticipated fourth quarter started out with a Draymond Green dunk coming off a silky assist from Stephen Curry which took the lead to 8. The Rockets then started their comeback by managing to get 6 unanswered point closing the gap to a mere 2 points. Every play suddenly became extra important as the closing stages of the game were approaching. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and James Harden were all making contributions to their team on both defence and offence. The gap remained around the same for the majority of the quarter with the Rockets missing quite a few baskets to take the lead in which the Warriors took advantage off. There was even one moment where the Rockets missed 3 shots in a row but managed to grab the offensive rebounds on each one but still missed the shots to take the lead. James Harden was not shooting the ball as proficient as he was in the third quarter but his teammates were still keeping the Rockets in the game. Going into the final 2 minutes of the game the Rockets were only 3 points behind as Clint Capela ran out of shot clock time which Kevin Durant then managed to increase the advantage with a made basket. Clutch possessions begin and James Harden pops up with a dagger off a 3 pointer to take the game to 119-119. Each team had one possession left, the Warriors try a quick shot and don’t make a basket leaving James Harden and the Rockets with the final play of the game. Harden runs down the shot clock while dribbling the ball at the half way line, he then begins to drive forward and all of a sudden steps back and pulls up for a 3 pointer which ultimately misses. 119-119, to overtime we go.
The Warriors miss their first possession of overtime as Capela snatches his 21st rebound of the game. The next couple of plays could not exactly separate the two teams but the Stephen Curry defence on James Harden could prove to become a game changer as he manages to bait James Harden into committing an offensive foul in which Durant capitalised on a drained a mid ranger to take to Warriors up by 1. Frantic by the last play, the Rockets take a quick shot and miss which the Warriors then run up court leading to a Curry 3 pointer. The game seems to be in the Warriors hands as they are up by 4 with 2 minutes remaining however Harden returns again with yet another 3 pointer to cut the lead to only 1 point. The Rockets then keep up their momentum with the unlikely Austin Rivers hitting a wide open 3 pointer which Durant answers back with a 2 pointer to level the game. Klay Thompson finds a way to the basket to which James Harden answers back by sprinting up the court and getting fouled on the shot by Draymond Green which then follows in 2 free throws being made to tie the game. A wild play with numerous scrambles leads to a Steph Curry mid ranger to take the lead to 2 points with 14 seconds left to play. Remarkably, with 1 second left on the clock, James Harden hit a highly contested 3 pointer to give himself 44 point and the Rockets the lead by just the 1 point. With only 1 second left on the clock, Kevin Durant is not able to convert his shot meaning the Houston Rockets win 135-134.