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Rockets Can't Take Advantage Of Durant's Injury, Face Elimination

Rockets lose game 5 despite Kevin Durant's right calf strain

May 09, 2019 - 1:25 am

Despite an injury that ended Kevin Durant's night in the third quarter, the Rockets will face elimination Friday night at Toyota Center after losing game five of their Western Conference Semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors 104-99 Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.

Durant connected on a 15-footer with 2:11 to play in the third quarter, putting the Warriors up 68-65, but he grabbed his lower right leg and left the game after Andre Iguodala gave a foul. He left the game with a right calf strain and he will undergo an MRI Thursday.

Houston scored the first four points after Durant's exit, but Stephen Curry scored back-to-back buckets as the game entered the fourth quarter tied at 72. Jonas Jerebko knocked down a three to begin the fourth quarter, though the Rockets scored five in a row, though Curry made a couple of free throws to tie the game again. An Iman Shumpert layup put the Rockets back on top, but Curry drained a three, and the Warriors never trailed again.

The Rockets were down 84-81 when Eric Gordon tied the game with 6:09 to play. Klay Thompson's fadeaway jumper broke the tie, and after Chris Paul split a pair of free throws, Curry hit from three to make it a four-point game. Gordon answered with a three, but that was as close as the Rockets would get.

Harden's 31 points led the Rockets, while Gordon scored 19, 15 came in the second half. Paul was limited to just 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting.

The Rockets started the game strong and led 14-12 with 6:08 left in the first quarter following a pair of Paul free throws, but the Warriors closed the period on a 19-3 run. Golden State pushed their lead to as many as 15 early in the second quarter. Two Nene free throws brought it down to 11, though Thompsons answered with a 10-foot jumper. Harden connected from long distance on the Rockets next possession, starting a 10-0 Houston run, but the Warriors responded when Durant drained a three. That began a 17-0 Golden State burst to make it a 20-point game. The Rockets scored the final six points of the half to make it a 57-43 game at the break. Durant led all scorers with 20, while Harden's 14 points paced the Rockets. 

Thompson's 27 points led the Warriors, while Curry scored 25, with 12 coming in the game's final period. Before leaving the game, Durant gave the Warriors 22.