Fri, May 18, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Rockets demolish Warriors to level series

AP, HOUSTON, TEXAS

The Houston Rockets’ James Harden shoots in Game 2 of their NBA Western Conference Finals series against the Golden State Warriors at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

James Harden and Eric Gordon on Wednesday night each scored 27 points to lead a balanced attack as the Houston Rockets routed the Golden State Warriors 127-105 to even the NBA Western Conference Finals at one game apiece.

The Rockets did not trail after the first quarter and led by double digits for most of the night. They head to Oakland, California, for Game 3 on Sunday night feeling much better after rebounding from a deflating 119-106 loss in the series opener.

P.J. Tucker added a playoff career-high 22 and Trevor Ariza had 19 as both bounced back after struggling in Game 1.

Tucker had just one point in that game and Ariza scored eight, but was limited on defense after collecting his fifth foul early in the third quarter.

Kevin Durant had 38 points after scoring 37 in the opener, but Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 24 points after the pair went for 46 in Game 1.

Houston were not able to slow down Durant, but did a much better job of limiting open three-pointers by Thompson and Curry, with the two making just three of 12 attempts.

The Warriors made three free throws to get within 11 early in the fourth quarter before the Rockets scored the next 11 points, with three-pointers from Gordon, Tucker and Harden to make it 111-89 with about six-and-a-half minutes to play.

Durant made a basket after that, but Houston scored the next eight points to extend the lead to 119-91 with about five minutes left.

The Warriors got frustrated in that stretch, with Durant getting a technical for shoving Harden in the back and Draymond Green pushing Ariza out of bounds seconds later. It was then that coach Steve Kerr sent all of his starters to the bench for good.

Gordon came off the bench to make six three-pointers, Tucker tied a playoff best with five and Harden added three.

Houston avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this post-season and the Warriors lost in the second game of a playoff series for the first time since the 2015 NBA Finals, snapping a 10-game winning streak in such games.

The Houston Rockets led by as many as 19 in the first half and were up 64-50 at halftime.

The Warriors cut it to 74-64 with five quick points from Durant, but the Rockets opened it back up to 89-72 when Gordon made an off-balance layup before crashing to the court while being fouled and made the free throw.

The Rockets were up by 16 to start the fourth quarter, but Golden State got within 98-86 with about 10 minutes left.

Curry had five points in that span, including his first three-pointer after missing his first six attempts of the night.

Curry finished with 16 points and Thompson was three for 11 for his eight points.

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