The short handed Houston Rockets thoroughly outworked the Golden State Warriors to take a 118-112 victory. Despite missing the reigning MVP James Harden, a balanced team effort carried the day for Houston in Oakland.
Eric Gordon had 25 points, Chris Paul had a monster game with 23 points and 17 assists, newcomer Kenneth Faried had 20 points, and P.J. “Tuckwagon” Tucker had a brilliant 18 point performance punctuated by his great defense.
The Warriors were led by Kevin Durant’s 29 points, while Stephen Curry had 25, and Klay Thompson added 20. DeMarcus Cousins had a double-double with 13 points and 14 reounds, but struggled from the field shooting 4-of-12. The Rockets never let the Warriors get too comfortable.
Houston roared out to a 15-0 lead as the Warriors couldn’t seem to dribble, pass, or shoot to open the game. When Thompson finally broke the seal on the basket with a deep triple, the antsy crowd erupted like it was a game winner. Hilarious.
The Rockets took a 35-20 advantage after one quarter. DeMarcus Cousins had 3 fouls and was 1-for-7 from the field in the first half, showing great hustle but difficulty finishing around the rim. Houston’s switching defense kept the Warriors from getting downhill momentum toward the rim for the majority of the half, while Paul had a double-double (10 points, 11 assists) after two quarters.
Durant carried the load early on with 19 for the champs, while Curry caught fire at the end of the second to take 13 points into the half.
Also, right before the half, Curry connected with Andre Iguodala on a great layup, and Draymond Green leveled Paul with a monster screen.
JUST HOW KERR DREW IT UP pic.twitter.com/KWMBcADK8p— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 24, 2019
Draymond Green pancake blocked Chris Paul on the final play of the half. CP3 is holding his ribs on the left side as he slowly walks to the locker room.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 24, 2019
Rockets 61, Warriors 54
PJ Tucker is just built to play the Warriors.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 24, 2019
PJ Tucker with back-to-back blocks on the Splash Brothers— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) February 24, 2019
PJ Tucker has taken over an NBA basketball game— Kegan Reneau (@KeganReneau) February 24, 2019
As the explosions of P.J. Tucker related tweets show, the former Longhorn had a helluva third quarter. He blocked Thompson and Curry on back-to-back possessions, and finished the third period with a fadeaway buzzer beater from long-range. The Rockets took a 92-86 fourth quarter advantage.
Draymond Green turned his ankle stepping on Cousins’ foot early in the fourth and left the game.
The two teams warred down the stretch, with the Rockets warding off every Warriors run with resilience and intelligence.
The Warriors cut the lead down to four late, but couldn’t get over the hump.
That marks the third straight Rockets win over the Warriors; that can’t sit well with the champs. Good game Houston!