The most anticipated series of the playoffs has lived up to the hype. Even when the Rockets led by 17 points in the fourth quarter, it felt like a close game. Like the previous three, game four ended within two possessions. Fortunately, the Rockets managed to come out on top 112-108 to even up the series and send it back to Oakland 2-2.
After the Warriors held serve at home, the Rockets have done the same winning both games in Toyota Center. The Rockets continue their dominance at home winning 17 of their last 18 in Houston. Now, they head back to Oracle Arena to see if they can be the first team to win a road game in this series.
Kevin Durant Third Quarters
Durant remains the best scorer in these NBA playoffs and his prowess in the third quarter continues to be unmatched. Once again, he dominated the 12 minutes out of the half with 16 points. He has been great, period, but his is particularly difficult to guard in the third.
P.J. Tucker All-Hustle Team
Where would the Rockets be without a guy like Tucker? He's one of the better corner three point shooters in the game and seems to be everywhere on the court at once, grabbing offensive boards, diving for loose balls. He's a one man hustle machine. Not only is it obviously a huge asset, it ramps up the energy for the team and the crowd while deflating Golden State.
For the second straight game, the Rockets won the rebounding battle, something they rarely did all season. When the Rockets beat opponents on the glass, they tend to win and game four was no exception. And once again it was a team effort. James Harden and Tucker had 10 each. Clint Capela had 9. Chris Paul had 8 and Austin Rivers had 6. That concerted effort was noticeable in both home games for the Rockets.
Live by the Three
The Rockets took 50 three pointers on Monday night. 50. They made 17 for 34 percent and out scored Golden State in that department 51-24. Fact is, they needed every last one. There is always the concern about what will happen if they can't hit their shots like in game seven against Golden State last year when they missed 27 straight. But, for now, it is how they are winning.
Warriors Plus Minus
Andre Iguodala was a minus 17, while Klay Thompson was a minus 12. Up until the last two minutes of the game, Steph Curry was in the negative. He finished a plus two. It is reflective of just how much they struggled at times in game four. The game ended close, but the Rockets had their best game of the series and it showed in the box score.
Steph Curry Defender
Over and over and over again, particularly down the stretch in the fourth quarter, the Rockets did everything they could to run pick and rolls so they would have a one-on-one match-up against Curry. As great as he is offensively, he can, at times, be a liability on defense. When he was forced to guard Harden or Paul in an isolation, the Rockets won those match ups with regularity. Expect a continued diet of that by the Rockets.
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There's a saying that goes, "It's not a series until the road team wins a game." Well, then, this isn't a series. For the Warriors, who own home court advantage, that's just fine, but for the Rockets, they must find a way to win at Oakland if they want to win the series. So far, neither team has made a dent on the other's home floor.
People with Heart Conditions
If you don't like exciting games or you have some kind of problem that could result in cardiac arrest during exciting moments, these are not the games for you.