The Houston Rockets take on the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Sunday afternoon in Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals playoff series. The series is tied, 1-1.
The Rockets (1-1) were facing a potential catastrophe heading into last Wednesday's Game 2, despite the fact the series was still very much in its early stages. The Warriors (1-1) had looked impressive while embarrassing Houston on its home court in Game 1 by a 119-106 margin, and an encore would have sent the team with NBA's best regular-season record to the Bay Area facing the daunting prospect of a sweep. Unsurprisingly, the Rockets came out with urgency, establishing a solid 26-21 lead after one quarter. They then gained some valuable separation with a 38-point second period that left them with a 64-50 halftime advantage. They'd go on to build as much as a 29-point edge at one point in the second half on their way to a commanding victory.
James Harden paced the Rockets with a 27-point, 10-rebound double-double that also included three assists and one steal. Eric Gordon matched Harden's scoring total and complemented it with three boards, two assists, one steal and one block. P.J. Tucker supplied 22 points, seven boards, four assists and one steal while draining eight of nine attempts, including five of six tries from distance. Trevor Ariza had the hot hand as well, registering 19 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Chris Paul played more of a complementary role than usual but still pitched in 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals over 34 minutes. Clint Capela tallied just five points but also hauled in 10 rebounds and dished out one assist.
The Rockets come into Game 3 with no injuries to report.
Kevin Durant was the lone bright spot for the Warriors, posting 38 points and three rebounds. Stephen Curry was a distant second with a modest 16 points on 7-for-19 shooting. He added seven rebounds and seven assists. The pair of superstars were shockingly the only two double-digits scorers for Golden State, with Klay Thompson coming the closest to achieving the feat with a meager eight points (3-11 FG), two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Quinn Cook followed with seven points and one rebound in just five minutes off the bench. Draymond Green mustered six points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Nick Young matched Green's scoring total off the bench and also contributed two assists and one rebound. Andre Iguodala and Zaza Pachulia generated matching five-point efforts.
The Warriors' only injury of note continues to be Patrick McCaw, who is likely out for the duration of the postseason with his back injury.