For the first five minutes of Tuesday night’s Western Conference Finals game between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets looked like they might be the first team to ever get shut out. Yes, that’s an exaggeration- no one is going to get shut out in basketball- but you almost can’t overstate how poorly they shot the ball and looked in that opening few minutes. After those five minutes, the Warriors were up 12-0. It could’ve been, and probably should have been, so much poor as well. However, that was not meant to be, and the Rockets responded to win what was a roller coaster of a game 95-92 to send the series back to Houston on level terms.
James Harden had a good game, after those aforementioned five minutes of course, scoring 30 points and was joined by Chris Paul having one of his biggest and most clutch games of his career. Paul would end up scoring 27 of his own in the win. The craziest moment of the game, though, might just have been Harden’s decision to not shoot a wide open three pointer early in the game. That looked like it was a clear sign that it would be the Warriors’ night to go up 3-1 and all but end the series.
But the Rockets continued to fight. After the first quarter, they were only down by nine. Considering how bad they had begun the game, this was a major victory for coach Mike D’Antoni, who has continued to stick to his guns by running isolation basketball. The proof is in the pudding, as Harden and Paul each only had four assists each, and the team had just ten as a whole. A fantastic second quarter had them in the lead at the Oracle at half-time, only for a third quarter that swung entirely into Golden State’s favor.
There was one last quarter to play, though, and the Rockets would put their stamp on the game in it. Game 4, the most crucial game in the series due to Houston needing to take my home court and have a legitimate chance, went to the Rockets after they held one of the best shooting teams in the history of the NBA to just 12 points in the fourth quarter. You heard that right: 12. That is one point per minute. In the grand scheme of things, that might as well be nothing. Along with that and a higher than average scoring rate for a quarter- 25- the Rockets were able to win the game by three and make this into a real series once again as we all had hoped for.