HOUSTON – In their quest to sweep the Houston Rockets out of the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors trailed from start to finish Monday night and now must try to eliminate the Rockets at home.
Though the Warriors lost the game, 128-115, they still have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and, moreover, seemed to have dodged disaster when Stephen Curry took a hard fall in the second quarter.
Curry left with 5:52 remaining in the second quarter after landing on his head/neck area while attempting to block a shot by Houston forward Trevor Ariza. He was diagnosed with a head contusion and returned to the game with 5:58 left in the third quarter.
But Curry’s return did not generate enough production – or enough sustained defense – to mount a comeback.
Six Warriors scored in double figures, led by 24 points from Klay Thompson. Curry finished with 23, Draymond Green with 21, Harrison Barnes with 14, Andre Iguodala with 13 and Leandro Barbosa finished with 12.
The Rockets shot 77.3 percent in the first quarter and 60 percent in the first half, as there was no sign of the defense that held Houston to 29.3-percent shooting in the first half of Game 3.
James Harden, coming off a miserable Game 3, was fabulous in leading the Rockets with 45 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
While Thompson had a nice flurry and Barbosa provided a lift, Green was the team’s best player on the floor over the course of the night.
In addition to his 21 points, Green hauled in 15 rebounds before fouling out with 3:09 remaining in the game.
The Rockets opened the game with blast, going up 19-3 lead in less than five minutes and holding a 45-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors pulled to within 104-98 with 8:24 left but Houston responded with a 10-0 run, taking a 114-98 lead with 5:01 left. The Warriors never posed a serious threat after that.
Warriors: F Marreese Speights (strained right calf) was listed as out and placed on the inactive list.
Rockets: C Dwight Howard (left knee sprain) and G KJ McDaniels (right elbow fracture) were listed as probable. G Patrick Beverley (left wrist surgery) and F Donatas Motiejunas (back surgery) were listed as out and placed on the inactive list.
The teams reconvene Wednesday night for Game 5 at Oracle Arena.