The Golden State Warriors controlled the Houston Rockets from tip-off and rebuffed a late surge to win 115-109.
The biggest storyline coming into this game was the referees, but injuries are the biggest takeaway afterwards. Steph Curry suffered a dislocated middle finger on his left hand, while James Harden took an inadvertent poke to the eye and appeared to be in major discomfort. Both would finish the game, fortunately.
The “Hamptons 5” all scored in double digits, with Kevin Durant leading the way with an aggressive 29 points. Klay Thompson added 21, Curry finished with 20 despite the injury, Andre Iguodala scored 16, and Draymond Green chipped in 15,
Harden scored 29, as the Rockets came out flat but fought tough down the stretch to make it a game. The Rockets had 17 turnovers and gave up 18 offensive rebounds to the Warriors.
Harden went down early in the first quarter, getting poked in the eye by Draymond Green scuffling over a rebound. The league MVP laid on the floor holding his face for an extended period, before being helped to the back, covering his face. Green met Harden before he reached the tunnel to hug him and offer his apologies.
Curry caught his left hand on Clint Capela during a rebound fight, and immediately jogged to the back with a dislocation in his middle finger. He would return later in the quarter, noticeably shaking his hand, trying to get loose.
The Warriors pushed their lead to 29-20 after one quarter. Austin Rivers kept the Rockets afloat, scoring 8 points in a burst to help bring Houston’s deficit to 31-27 early in the second quarter. That’s when Harden came back to the floor, renewing Houston’s hope.
Could we see an Austin Rivers game?— The Dream Shake (@DreamShakeSBN) May 1, 2019
The Warriors then tried to activate Oracle’s battle cries, pummeling the Rockets defense with brilliant highlights.
Ball never touched the ground— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 1, 2019
Harden and Rivers would not let the Rockets rip at the seams. Their supreme shotmaking kept the Rockets in striking distance going to the half, with Harden scoring 12 points after two quarters and Rivers adding 11.
At the half: Warriors 58, Rockets 49— Monte Poole (@MontePooleNBCS) May 1, 2019
-Curry (finger), Harden (eyelid) both playing hurt
-Warriors active defense (20pts off 13 HOU turnovers)
-Paint points: Warriors 28-14
-Warriors 4 turnovers
-Still close because GSW 45.3% FG, 25% 3p
-HOU 10-22 3p
Steph & KD’s defense was absolutely sensational that half.— nick wright (@getnickwright) May 1, 2019
Steph seemed to really lock in on that end after his finger injury. KD was locked in from the opening tip.
Curry picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and was forced to sit. Fortunately, Durant and Thompson began orchestrating the offense together to terrorize Houston.
KLAY— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 1, 2019
But the Rockets ended up outscoring the Warriors 26-24 in the third frame as the Warriors went scoreless for the last 4:14. Harden was shielding his eyes from the arena lights at one point, and kept furiously squinting. He was able to see well enough to lure Durant to foul him on a three-pointer to end the quarter, however. Chris Paul was quite pleased.
Chris Paul reaction to James Harden drawing the 3 point foul on KD pic.twitter.com/9fGEgcKIsc— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) May 1, 2019
The Rockets pulled the deficit to within four with Durant resting on the bench.
Nene and Draymond Green got into a small jostling match under the rim, and the refs immediately gave them a double tech. It was a mighty quick whistle in my estimation, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr was livid.
The Warriors didn’t rattle, however. Their defense forced the Rockets to work for mostly everything, and the champs offense hit timely buckets, per usual.
beautiful pic.twitter.com/8eF5eC3cg4— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 1, 2019
Scary reality for the Rockets: The Warriors have won at least one road game in an NBA record 20 straight playoff series. Three days of rest upcoming, then just need one of two in Houston to take full control.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 1, 2019