Photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today

Harden Leads Rockets To Game Three Win

Rockets now trail series 2-1 after Harden's 41 point night

May 05, 2019 - 1:37 am

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- The Rockets are on the board in their Western Conference Semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors after James Harden led them to a 126-121 overtime win Saturday night at Toyota Center.

Harden led the Rockets with 41 points, seven of which came in the extra period. That came after his free throws with 38.7 seconds left in regulation tied the game as the Rockets now trail the series 2-1.

Following a quiet first half, the Rockets had to withstand a Kevin Durant blitz after halftime. He finished with a game-high 46 points, 34 of which came in a second half where he played every second. Despite his 17 points in the third quarter the Rockets still led by seven going into the fourth, but he started the final period with a three and a 16-footer. After Chris Paul connected from 12 feet, Durant hit another 16-foot jumper, and then a three-pointer to give the Warriors their first lead since early in the second quarter.

The lead exchanged hands eight times in the fourth quarter, the last coming when Andre Iguodala hit a triple 45.9 seconds left on the clock, but on the Rockets next possesion, Harden was fouled by Stephen Curry. He made both free throws and Durant missed a long jumper that would've broken the tie. 

P.J. Tucker opened the extra period by draining a 13-foot floater and the Rockets never gave up the lead. Golden State pulled to within one on three separate occasions, but the final time, Houston answered with a Tucker layup, and after Curry missed a layup, Harden delivered the dagger with a 26-foot step-back three with 49 seconds to play.

Curry finished with 17 points on just 7-of-23 shooting. Along with the missed layup, the final shot attempt for either was his missed breakaway dunk.

The Warriors led by as many as nine early, but closed the first quarter making two of the their final shots allowing the Rockets to close within one. Houston took its first lead of the game on its second possession of the second quarter, thanks to Eric Gordon's finger roll. That started an 13-1 run that was capped by a pair of Harden free throws. The Warriors scored the next six points, but a Gordon step-back triple stopped the bleeding. Golden State did pull to within five again, but the Rockets led by nine at the break. Gordon led all scorers with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting. 

Harden started the second half with a layup to make it an 11-point lead, but Durant scored six straight to bring the lead within five. A Harden three ended that burst, but a Draymond Green layup with 8:58 left in the third quarter, but Harden and Paul made back-to-back threes to get the lead to 11 again, though the Warriors pulled to within 10 when Green nailed a three with five seconds to go in the period. 

Gordon finished with 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting. He drained seven threes, while Chris Paul added 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. 

The Rockets outrebounded Golden State 55-35, with Tucker accouting for a dozen of those rebounds.

The Rockets will look to level the series Monday night at Toyota Center.