Just a mere seconds remaining in the final quarter and the Houston Rockets were also out of timeouts and down by a point Thursday night against the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors.
In that particular moment in time James Harden was the only person they planned to hold the basketball. And as usual their superstar delivered.
Harden have scored 35 points, along with the game-winner with 2.7 seconds remaining, and the Houston Rockets took advantage of Stephen Curry’s absence to acquire a 97-96 triumph over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
The win slashes Houston’s deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is scheduled on Sunday in Houston.
Shaun Livingston stole a lazy pass coming from Trevor Ariza and Ian Clark’s layup set Golden State up by one with 10.6 seconds remaining. James Harden then took it to the other end of the court and made a stepped back for the jump shot to win the game.
“The last shot was typical of what James does,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The move, we’ve seen before. The finish, we’ve seen before. You do get spoiled by it at times, but in these biggest of moments, you can’t help but appreciate it.”
The Warriors still had an opportunity to win it after that, however Draymond Green dribbled the inbound pass off his foot and was out of bounds.
“I cost us the game,” said Draymond Green. “The world will think I’m talking about that last turnover but I’m not. That happens. I was awful the whole game. I care about that turnover, but I cost us the game way before then.”
Marreese Speights came off the bench to lead Golden State with 22 points while Klay Thompson had only 17 points.
Golden State Warriors blew out the Rockets in the series opener along with Curry in the game, and pulled away late in Game 2 to move up 2-0 even with last year’s MVP looking from the bench with a sprained right ankle. Stephen Curry was not on the bench for this game along with did not officially talk to reporters following the game, however did say that he wasn’t on the bench as he is expected to play and decided not to bring a suit to Houston.