Warriors Blow 20 Point Home Lead as Harden Stars, DeRozan Overshadows Leonard

Jonathan Grant | January 4th, 2019

Perhaps Steph Curry said it best after the Golden State Warriors lost in overtime to the Houston Rockets 135-134. “You don’t lose at home.” Klay Thompson added that they didn’t have that “killer instinct.” All of that is true. The problem? James Harden was on the other side of the court playing you. Maybe you won’t have the killer instinct, but he sure will, especially right now. And once again, the Beard came through in the clutch to hand his team a win that keeps them on a roll, a roll of which has been going on without influential guard Chris Paul along with him. Harden finished the game with, you guessed it, 40+ points as he had 44, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds as well. But it never should have came to any of that. The Warriors led 73-53 just after the third quarter began. Harden, who had 13 in the period, and the Rockets clawed their way back in that very same quarter to reduce the score. As a result, the Rockets were able to get the game into overtime eventually, and that is where he once again shined. With his team down three with under 47 seconds left in the fourth, and with Kevin Durant’s massive frame guarding him, he drained a three to tie the game and help get it into OT. Once there, he was the hero again when he got the ball with his team down and drained a three with both Klay and Draymond Green all over him. After Durant missed his chance to win it, the Rockets had won in a thriller. Houston, after their awful start, are now just two games behind the Warriors in the standings. Who’d have thunk it?

Sports Illustrated

One team that has been flying under the radar, largely due to Harden, is another Texas team, the San Antonio Spurs. After a slow start of their own to life without Kawhi Leonard, they have seven wins from their last ten and have now won three in a row after they defeated the Toronto Raptors and their former star 125-107 on Thursday night. The game was billed as the return of Kawhi, and boy was it ever. The former Spur was booed mercilessly throughout the game, and the Raptors never managed to handle it well. They were behind right out of the gates, and it was because of a former Spur, in large part, as DeMar DeRozan came back to bite Toronto. He recorded his first ever triple-double, matching Harden for the night, by scoring 24 points, grabbing 14 boards, and dishing out 11 assists. He was devastated when he was first traded, and now, for the night or so, his former team will be the ones left devastated by his play. For Leonard’s part, he did have 21 points on the night to lead the Raptors, but it just was never going to be enough after returning to his former stomping grounds after such a contentious move.

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