The Houston Rockets lost the first three games of their Western Conference Finals series with the Golden State Warriors, but their hopes of reaching the 2015 NBA Finals remain alive. Houston beat Golden State in Game 4 on Memorial Day, and they have a chance to extend the best-of-seven set in Game 5 on Wednesday.
The No.2 seed in the West was blown out in Game 3, but they’ve had a chance to win every other contest in the series. Their losses in the first two games came by just a total of five points, and the Rockets had a chance to take the lead in the final possession of Game 2. Monday’s game wasn’t close as Houston scored 45 points in the first quarter and won, 128-115.
"They made everything," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "They won the game in the first quarter. They were ready to play. Probably more ready than we were. We were on our heels. They were making shots from all over. They were obviously coming out with some fire and played extremely well. It's tough to come back from 23 down after one quarter."
The biggest play of Game 4 occurred in the second quarter when Stephen Curry banged his head against the floor after he tried to block a layup by Trevor Ariza. The MVP left with a head contusion, eventually returning to finish with 23 points in 31 minutes. But even before Curry left the contest, Houston was dominating.
MVP runner-up James Harden was the better player on Monday night, scoring 45 points on 22 field-goal attempts, adding nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. Other than a poor Game 3, Harden’s been terrific throughout the playoffs, averaging 32 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game against the Warriors.
With Curry seemingly healthy and ready to play in Game 5, Golden State is still an overwhelming favorite to reach the NBA Finals. The fall looked so bad that it initially seemed like the point guard could miss much more than just one quarter.
"When you have falls like that, you don't really know what's going to happen in the next 15-20 minutes, how you're going to feel," Curry said. "I was still … in shock."
No team in NBA history has ever blown a 3-0 series lead, and the Warriors would be one of the least likely teams to do so. Only five teams have ever recorded more than Golden State’s 67 wins, and they’ve lost just three games at home this year, where they’ll play Game 5 and a potential Game 7.
Houston became just the ninth team ever to come back from a 3-1 series deficit when they got by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. L.A. previously beat the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the first round, who were the second favorites to represent the West in the NBA Finals.