HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – Chris Paul’s 33 points and James Harden surpassing his minutes restriction, helps lift Houston past Golden State, 116-108 as the Rockets win the three game season series against the Warriors.
Along with Paul’s 33 points, he also pulled down 11 rebounds, dished out seven assists and had four steals.
“He’s (Paul) been a winner his whole career and I don’t see that changing,” Mike D’Antoni said.
With the win the Rockets snap Golden State’s 14 game road winning streak, while improving their record to 17-0 when Harden, Paul and Clint Capela all play.
“When James and Chris play together we’re pretty good,” said D’Antoni.
The Rockets led for most of the game and built a 17 point lead late in the first half, but the Warriors would not go away as they closed the half on an 11-1 run to pull within seven. Golden State would take their first second half lead with just over 10 minutes left.
“You got to knock them out,” D’Antoni said. “it’s like a heavyweight fight, you don’t win on TKO’s, you got to knock them out.”
While the fourth quarter saw six lead changes, the Rockets were able to regain the lead for good after a P.J. Tucker three pointer with 3:56 to play. Tucker’s three combined with the Rockets’ defense allowing Golden State to just 17 fourth quarter points helped garner the victory.
“(The) fourth quarter was a conscious effort to not let them get easy baskets, easy threes and making sure we contested everything,” Harden said.
Harden, who finished with 22 points and eight assists, hit a difficult, step back three with the shot clock winding down to give the Rockets a six point lead with 1:10 left to play.
“I was just trying to get the best shot. That’s what I work on,” Harden said.
According to D’Antoni, who said his star would only play 30 minutes, Harden shouldn’t have even been playing in those final minutes as Harden finished the game logging 34 minutes.
“I knew how important this game was, a couple extra minutes wouldn’t hurt,” said Harden.
After the win, and the Rockets victorious in two of the three games with Golden State this season, the question popped up if the Rockets could be the one to dethrone the champ.
“Let’s don’t get ahead of ourselves,” D’Antoni said, “we won a game, but that’s it.”