It’s Time to Head to King’s Landing a.k.a. Oakland, so the Battle Can Begin.
The Houston Rockets took care of business Monday night defeating the Golden State Warriors 112-108 to tie the Western Conference Semi-final series up 2-2. It was clear from the jump that the Rockets wanted to defend their home court at all costs and managed to give themselves just enough cushion to hang on to the lead. It got dicey with about 9 minutes to go in the 4th quarter when the Rockets offense went cold. The Warriors, at one point, were able to cut the lead to a single possession. With seconds left on the clock, the ball was inbounded to Kevin Durant who missed a game tying 3. He was able to grab the rebound and pass the ball to Stephen Curry who also missed a potential game tying 3. With that, it became a best of 3 series.
James Harden led the Rockets win with 38 points. Eric Gordon had another monster game with 20 points and the heartbeat of the team, PJ Tucker had 17 points. Tucker, who found his rhythm in Game 3, has really come up big defensively for the Rockets. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni talked about how Tucker’s defense made the difference in Game 3. Tucker had 7 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 assists. Tucker came out with the same intensity in Game 4 and made it clear he isn’t scared of the big moments and playing his role to the best of his ability.
“Everybody dreams about scoring 30, getting the game-winner. No, no, no, not me. I love my role. I love what I do,” Tucker said. “… it sounds crazy, but this is my dream. I’m living my dream right now, guarding Kevin Durant in the NBA playoffs.”
To the Rockets’ credit, they made the necessary adjustments from Game 1 and 2, which were both winnable games. The Rockets bench stepped up big-time and shots are finally falling in but Eric Gordon alluded that there is another gear that the team has yet to shift into. “We definitely have to be better and we can be better than tonight,” said Gordon, who has been incredible on offense and defense the last two games. “We missed a lot of open shots; I just have to make sure I make them count next game.”
The Rockets will face the Warriors in Oakland for a critical Game 5. With a win in Oakland, the Rockets would be able to steal home-court advantage which would be in their best interest considering they are 5-0 at home this postseason.