(UPDATED) The Warriors hang on against a Rockets side that came close to wiping out their double-digit lead in the closing minutes
Published 12:34 PM, March 14, 2019
Updated 12:59 PM, March 14, 2019
CLUTCH. Steph Curry nails two crucial free throws to help the Warriors stay on top. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images/AFP
WASHINGTON, USA (UPDATED) – The Golden State Warriors looked all set for a big win even minus Kevin Durant. But the Houston Rockets – trailing by 13 points in the last 4 minutes – still found a way to make a game out of it.
The Warriors survived Chris Paul and the Rockets’ late outburst for a 106-104 escape on the road in the NBA on Wednesday, March 13 (Thursday, March 14, Manila time).
Klay Thomson fired half of his 30 points from beyond the arc and grabbed 6 rebounds to lead the Warriors, who played minus injured star Kevin Durant.
Durant, a two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, was sidelined by a right ankle sprain suffered in a Sunday loss to Phoenix.
DeMarcus Cousins had a season-high of 27 points on an 11-of-16 shooting clip on top of 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals for the Warriors.
“When Kevin is out, we don’t have the luxury of throwing to him and getting 30 points,” Thompson said after the Warriors snapped the Rockets’ nine-game winning streak.
“We had to throw it to Boogie (Cousins) in the post and he came through for us in a big way. He propelled us to a victory tonight.”
Steph Curry also came through with 25 points, including two clutch free throws with 8 seconds left after the Rockets threatened within a point, 104-103.
The defending champions stayed on top with a 46-21 record, 4.5 games ahead of the Rockets, who remained at the 4th spot at 42-26 in the Western Conference.
“Whether Kevin is out here or not, I play the same way,” Thompson said. “I try to keep moving and being a force.”
@boogiecousins fills up the stat sheet with a season-high 27 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST in the @warriors road W! #DubNation pic.twitter.com/QWXttgFGtc
— NBA (@NBA) March 14, 2019
Cousins, signed as an injured free agent in July, has had to blend with the Warriors powerhouse lineup since returning in January from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
But Cousins established himself as a physical inside force who could give Houston fits in a playoff series.
“We made a concerted effort to feed him in the post,” Curry said. “Nothing he does out there should surprise anybody.”
The Warriors – who absorbed a shocking loss to the cellar-dwelling Phoenix Suns last Sunday – nearly blew a 13-point advantage, 102-89, in the last 4 minutes.
NBA scoring leader James Harden netted 29 points and added 10 assists to lead the Rockets (42-26), who also got 24 points from Chris Paul and 13 points and 13 rebounds from Clint Capela.
Paul sank two free throws with 47 seconds remaining to pull Houston within 104-100, then completed a three-point play after being fouled by Andre Iguodala to pull the Rockets within 104-103 with 10 seconds remaining.
Curry sank two free throws with 8 seconds to play to boost the lead and the Warriors fouled Harden to send him to the free throw line.
Harden sank the first to create the final margin, but missed the second only to have Iguodala chase down the rebound and tap the ball to Curry, who tossed it in the air as the final horn sounded.
Houston, which led Golden State 3-2 in last year’s Western Conference finals before falling in 7 games, had won the first 3 meetings of the season with Golden State but could not become the first team to sweep the Warriors since Steve Kerr became coach of the club and their run of four consecutive NBA Finals runs began.
“It’s a good win for us,” Kerr said. “We’ve got 15 games left for us to figure out the combinations. This was a good night.” – Rappler.com