Trailing the series 3-0 and facing elimination – and after getting embarrassed on the home floor in game 3, losing by 35 points – the Rockets came out blazing in the first quarter of game 4. They went 8-of-9 from behind the arc, resulting in a 45-22 lead after 12 minutes. The Warriors came back in the second quarter, led by Thompson who scored 15 points (24 points total), but could never fully get within arm’s reach, losing the game 128-115.
The game turned out to be an old-fashioned shootout. The 37 combined made three-pointers is a NBA playoff record, as both teams were sizzling hot from behind the arc: the Rockets shot 17-of-32 (53.1%), the Warriors 20-of-46 (43.5%). James Harden had a career night, finishing with 45 points (7-of-11 from downtown), 9 rebounds and 5 assists. After a horrendous game in game 3, when he was only 3-for-16 from the field for 17 points, Harden lead his team to victory with 33 points in the second half to keep the Warriors at bay.
MVP Curry fell hard on his head in the second quarter and left the game after being down for several minutes. He returned in the third quarter however, but to no avail. The Rockets were the more desperate team and played with more energy and determination than the Warriors. A similar resolve will be needed if the Rockets want to extend the series even more. Game 5 will be played on Thursday, 11AM AEST, back in the Bay Area, and the Warriors will make sure they come out of the gate with more energy and effort to try to finish off the series and advance to the NBA Finals.