2018 Western Conference Finals – Game 7

I have returned from last night’s mournful saunter through the woods, because there’s yet another Game 7 with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line. It’s down at the Toyota Center in Houston as the Rockets host the Warriors. Chris Paul has been ruled out for tonight, dealing an unfortunate blow to the home team, whereas the Warriors continue to go on without the services of Andre Iguodala. Will we see another road team take the game? After last night, road teams are 27-104 in Game 7s, according to TNT’s Ernie Johnson, so the odds are against it, but of course, there’s no telling what’s about to transpire.

It really, really sucks that Chris Paul has to miss the game tonight, especially since he’s been instrumental in getting them here, shedding some of his reputation as a playoff choker in the process.

9:01 pm – For the last time this season, because lousy ESPN gets the Finals, we’re welcomed into a basketball game by Marv Albert, who will narrate the action tonight with Chris Webber and Reggie Miller.

9:02 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and another Game 7 is underway. By the end of the night, one of these teams will be on their way to the Finals to face the Cavs.

9:04 – A pair of James Harden free throws provides the first points of the ballgame, putting the Rockets ahead, 2-0.

9:07 – Kevin Durant puts the Warriors on the board with two free throws, and they trail, 4-2. The Warriors are already in the penalty less than two minutes into the game, including two early fouls on Klay Thompson, who remains in the game. and Draymond Green has been observed sharing a heated exchange with Kevin Durant.

9:10 – James Harden knocks down a three and he’s fouled….by Klay Thompson. That’s three on Klay, and he saunters off to the bench. Shaun Livingston will replace him. Meanwhile, Harden misses the free throw, and the Rockets lead, 10-9, in a game that’s already a gigantic mess.

9:13 – We’re here at our first time out with the score Houston 15, Golden State 9 with 6:30 left in the first quarter. Both teams have been loose with the ball, combining for seven turnovers already, and Klay Thompson has been exiled to the bench with those three fouls. This one seems like it’s going to be wild.

9:17 – The Warriors, already in the penalty, intentionally foul lousy free throw shooter Clint Capela to send him to the line. he misses them both.

9:20 – Kevin Durant knocks a three, and we’ll head into a time out with the score Houston 18, Golden State 14 with 4:03 left in the opening quarter.

9:29 – Between a pair of James Harden free throws, we have a time out with the score Houston 23, Golden State 17 with 1:30 left in the first quarter. This one continues to be weird with the likes of Ryan Anderson and Joe Johnson, two players that have been chained to the Rockets bench throughout the playoffs, making appearances so far.

9:33 – Here at the end of the third quarter, our score’s Houston 24, Golden State 19. James Harden has 14 already to lead the Rockets, while Kevin Durant has 8 for the Warriors. That was not a great quarter of basketball, with the two teams combining for 11 turnovers, and each shot under 40%. In other words, it’s a standard yucky Game 7.

9:37 – We’re here at the start of the second quarter, and Klay Thompson is out there with his three fouls. He immediately heads to the hoop for a layup that gets goaltended, and the Warriors trail, 24-21.

9:41 – James Harden lobs one up to Clint Capela who throws it down, and the Toyota Center crowd is loud with the score Houston 34, Golden State 23 with 8:37 left in the first half. The Rockets are outworking the Warriors, fighting for offensive rebounds and second chance points to build their lead.

9:48 – Kevin Durant nails a three, but the Warriors remain down double digits with the score Houston 44, Golden State 33 with 5:50 left until halftime.

9:55 – Klay Thompson surprisingly misses two free throws, but the Warriors get the offensive rebound, only to have a pass stolen by James Harden, who takes it all the way down the court for a dunk! It looks like he also lost a contact lens in the process, so we’ll have a time out with the score Houston 48, Golden State 33 with 4:53 left until halftime.

10:03 – The first half comes to an end with Eric Gordon going the length of the court for a layup to beat the buzzer, and we’ll head into the break with the score Houston 54, Golden State 43.

James Harden has 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for the Rockets, but he’s shooting just 5-15. Eric Gordon has 14 after that buzzer beating layup, but the most impactful player for the Rockets has been Clint Capela, who has 14 points and 6 rebounds on 7-8 shooting.

Kevin Durant has 13 to lead the Warriors, and Klay Thompson has avoided further foul trouble to score 12.

The Rockets have been making all of the hustle plays, hauling in 11 offensive rebounds and coming up with ten steals. That’s the sort of stuff that gets you a win in a Game 7, but we’ll see if the Warriors come back with one of their patented third quarter supernovas.

10:21 – James Harden gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Rockets score the first points of the second half to extend their lead to 56-43.

10:23 – Klay Thompson picks up foul number four. He’ll remain in the game.

10:27 – We’ve got a time out with the Warriors on a 10-4 run to make the score Houston 58, Golden State 53 with 7:20 left in the third. The Rockets are still playing hard, but they’re starting to look fatigued. Meanwhile, the Warriors are still a mess, but even their most garbage possessions end with someone sinking a shot.

10:34 – Steph Curry cans a three from the corner, and it’s a one possession ballgame with the Rockets clinging to a 61-58 lead.

10:36 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Houston 61, Golden State 58 with 4:34 left in the third quarter. The replay on that last Curry three revealed an egregious moving screen by Jordan Bell that wasn’t called.

10:40 – Kevin Durant puts in a three, and we’re tied up at 61 as Durant’s up to 19 points.

On the next possession, Steph Curry hits another three, and the Warriors take a 64-61 lead.

10:42 – James Harden puts in a pair of free throws. He’s up to 22 points, and the Rockets trail, 64-63.

Steph Curry answers on the other end with a layup, putting him at 16 points, and putting the Warriors ahead, 66-63.

10:43 – Curry knocks down another three, this time with help from a friendly rim, and the Warriors lead is 69-63.

10:48 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with the scoreboard reading Golden State 76, Houston 69.

James Harden has 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the Rockets, and Kevin Durant’s 23 leads the Warriors, with Steph Curry right behind him with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

The Rockets seem completely dismantled at the moment, and the Warriors are in total control. We’re twelve minutes away from Chapter 4 of the Warriors/Cavaliers Finals.

10:52 – Klay Thompson leads off the fourth with a long two pointer with a foot on the line, and the Warriors lead is 78-69 as we head down the stretch.

10:56 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 83, Houston 73 with 8:27 remaining. The Rockets have missed 25, count ’em,ย twenty five straight three pointers. It’s time to resign yourself to a fourth straight Warriors/Cavs Finals that nobody outside of Northern Ohio or San Francisco wants to see.

11:04 – We’ve got a time out with 6:07 remaining and the score Golden State 89, Houston 79. PJ Tucker just hit a three, finally ending the Rockets streak of missed threes at an unholy 27.

11:13 – The Warriors are fouling Clint Capela to put him at the line and kill any momentum the Rockets might have, despite being up double digits.

11:14 – Kevin Durant gets a layup, and we’ll have a time out with the score Golden State 97, Houston 85 with 3:15 left in the game. It’s been a rough pair of Game 7s this Memorial Day weekend.

11:21 – We’ve got one final time out with the score Golden State 99, Houston 92 with 29.5 seconds to go. Everyone on NBA Twitter seems bummed out or at the very least, annoyed. Like the Celtics before them, the Rockets just missed too many damn shots tonight, costing them a winnable game.

11:26 – This one comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 101, Houston 92.

James Harden finished the night with 32 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals on 12-29 shooting, including a 2-13 mark from beyond the arc. Eric Gordon came up with 23 points and 6 assists, but shot 2-12 from downtown. Clint Capela contributed 20 points and 9 rebounds on 9-10 shooting, and PJ Tucker chipped in with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Trevor Ariza, however, had a game to forget, going 0-12 from the field, and 0-9 on threes. Overall, the Rockets shot 7-44 on three pointers.

Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 34 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on 11-21 shooting. Steph Curry came alive in the second half to finish with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists and 4 steals, and Draymond Green added 10 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists.

After all that, it’s Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers, Volume 4. I’m frankly not super pumped for it, but, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. It especially sucks that Chris Paul wasn’t in action over the last couple games of the series, but the Rockets had big leads in both Games 6 & 7, but couldn’t close it out amidst a barrage of clanked three pointers. It was some sad shit.

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

Despite how ornery it might make us, it’s pretty spectacular that two teams are meeting for the fourth straight time in the Finals. It’s something that’s never happened in our four major sports. I think people are bummed because of the sense of inevitability. I don’t think anyone would have been upset of the Celtics and Lakers met four straight times in the 80s, but every time they met, it was awesome, and it seemed that both of them had an equal shot of winning. Here in the 2010s, it’s hard not to think that we’re in for another predictable championship, with the Warriors taking full advantage of the Cavs uneven defensive effort. Hey, maybe it will be better than that. That’s why we’ll always watch.

 

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2018 Western Conference Finals – Game 5

9:01 pm – Unlike ESPN, TNT doesn’t fuck around. If they say a game starts at 9:00, they send you right out there for tip off, where narrators Marv Albert, Chris Webber and Reggie Miller are waiting to call the action. Tonight, it’s Game 5 between the Rockets and Warriors, and of course, it’s aย PIVOTAL one. With the series tied at two, each team will be vying for control. The Rockets are coming off a wacky win in Game 4, and the Warriors continue to battle on without the services of Andre Iguodala.

9:03 – The Rockets win the opening tip, and we’re underway out at the Toyota Center.

9:04 – James Harden nets the first points of the evening by going in for a layup as the Rockets start off with a 2-0 lead.

9:07 – Kevin Durant finally gets the Warriors on the board with a fast break dunk, but they’re down 6-2.

9:11 – Draymond Green gets himself a layup, and we’ll have ourselves a time out with the score Houston 10, Golden State 8 with 5:31 left in the first quarter. After a quick 8-2 start from the Rockets, the Warriors have come alive to keep the game from getting away from them early.

9:19 – Another time out with the score Houston 19, Golden State 10 with 2:31 left in the first quarter. After the Warriors seemed to awake, the Rockets have taken back control, thanks to a spark off the bench from none other than Gerald Green, who’s hit two quick threes to help offset Eric Gordon’s 0-4 start from downtown.

9:23 – Chris Webber just called David West “Derrick West”. I know he’s been scarcely seen these playoffs, but come on, C-Webb.

9:28 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Houston 23, Golden State 17. It’s certainly ebbed and flowed so far, with the Rockets getting off to a fast start, the Warriors chipping away, the Rockets extending their lead again, and the Warriors inching a little closer, this time with a 9-4 run to end the quarter.

Clint Capela has eight points and seven rebounds to lead the Rockets, while an aggressive Kevin Durant has 11 points on 5-10 shooting.

9:32 – PJ Tucker puts in a three to kick off the second quarter scoring. The Rockets lead, 26-17.

9:41 – After an Eric Gordon three, the Warriors take a time out with the score Houston 35, Golden State 26 with 7:05 left in what’s been a less than crisp first half. That being said, there’s nothing I love more than a good ol’ fashioned gross playoff game.

Klay’s got two points on 1-4 shooting and recently missed an open corner three to cap off and ruin a lousy 2-on-1 fast break for the Warriors.

9:53 – After Chris Paul fouls Draymond Green, we’ll have a time out with the score Houston 45, Golden State 40 with 1:55 left until halftime as the game has ebbed back towards a tighter margin, despite remaining quite yucky.

10:02 – We’ve made it to halftime, and we’re tied after a 17-7 Warriors run makes the score Houston 45, Golden State 45.

James Harden leads the Rockets with nine points, but he’s 0-7 from downtown. Meanwhile, Chris Paul is just 0-7 on everything. It’s those missed shots (the Rockets are 6-24 on threes altogether) that has allowed the Warriors to remain in the game. Clint Capela has added 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Kevin Durant has remained aggressive and is up to 18 points for Golden State, and Steph Curry’s added 11.

Of course, the Warriors third quarter prowess is well documented, but in Game 4, the Rockets survived the ceremonial Warriors Third Quarter Onslaught. There’s really no telling what’s about to happen, but my bet would be continued yucky basketball, and a close game the rest of the way.

10:19 – Klay Thompson gets into the paint, spins, draws a foul and puts in a shot. He misses the free throw, but with the first points of the second half, the Warriors have their first lead of the night at 47-45.

10:21 – Two James Harden free throws tie us right back up at 47.

10:22 – Kevon Looney flies in for an easy dunk, and the Warriors retake the lead at 49-47.

On the other end, Clint Capela hauls in a missed three from PJ Tucker and puts it in, tying us back up at 49.

10:23 – Chris Paul rises up and hits a three! His first shot of the game puts the Rockets ahead, 52-49.

Kevin Durant comes right back with a three of his own, and once again we’re tied, this time at 52.

10:24 – Clint Capela goes 1-2 from the line, and Jordan Bell throws down a dunk off a pass from Draymond Green, and the Warriors lead, 54-53.

10:25 – Chris Paul cans another three, giving the Rockets a 56-54 advantage.

10:26 – Klay Thompson knocks down a three, and the lead goes back to the Warriors at 57-56.

10:27 – Chris Paul gets another three, this time beating to beat the shot clock!

Unimpressed, Klay Thompson brings the ball in for a layup, and we’ll have a time out with the score Houston 59, Golden State 59 with 6:14 left in a hard fought third quarter.

10:32 – Klay Thompson hits another three, and the Warriors eke ahead, up 62-59.

10:33 – Jesus Christ, with James Harden at the line, Marv Albert tells us that he’s missed hisย last seventeen three pointers. Good grief. He doesn’t miss from the line though, and the Rockets trail, 62-61.

10:34 – After two free throws from Eric Gordon, the Rockets reclaim the lead, but briefly, as Steph Curry comes back with a reverse layup, and the Warriors lead, 64-63.

10:35 – Eric Gordon blocks a layup from Curry, but he’s called for a foul. Replay looked like a clean block to me. Anyway, I’m not the man in charge of those decisions, and Steph goes on to hit both free throws, extending the Warriors lead to 66-63.

10:36 – Gordon answers with a three, and once again we’re tied, 66-66.

10:38 – Steph Curry gets called for traveling, and we’ll head into a time out with the score still Houston 66, Golden State 66 with 2:40 left in the third.

10:42 – Eric Gordon falls away and hits a jumper, and the Rockets regain the lead at 68-66.

10:43 – A pair of Kevin Durant free throws knots us back up at 68. He’s up to 23 points on the evening.

10:44 – Kevin Durant knocks down a jumper, and the Warriors have the lead again, 70-68.

10:45 – We’re tied right back up after Chris Paul puts in a couple of free throws.

10:46 – And Kevin Durant knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Warriors are back on top, 72-70.

10:47 – Clint Capela splits a pair from the line, and the Rockets are down 72-71.

10:48 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with the score Golden State 72, Houston 71. Marv Albert informs us we’ve had eight ties and eleven lead changes, and I don’t believe that the score was within anything more than one possession throughout the entire quarter.

Eric Gordon leads the Rockets with 14 points off the bench, while Kevin Durant’s up to 27 for the Warriors. Despite being down just one, the Rockets are going to have to start hitting more shots, or the game will slip away. A three from Harden would be particularly helpful. He’s down to 0-9 from beyond the arc tonight.

10:52 – My television feed has frozen. Then it went black, and when it comes back to live action, the Rockets are up 73-72 all of a sudden, and Steph Curry immediately hits a three, putting the Warriors ahead, 75-73. What the hell happened!?

10:53 – Gerald Green puts in a three, and the Rockets go back ahead, 76-75.

10:54 – Chris Paul ventures into the paint for a layup…

…and Steph Curry answers with his own layup, a reverse, and the Rockets lead is at 78-77.

On the other end, Chris Paul hits a ridiculous, off-balanced three to put the Rockets ahead, 81-77! It’s the first time this has been a two possession game in a long while. Paul’s got 18 points in the second half after a miserable first half.

10:57 – A Klay Thompson three sends us into a time out with the score Houston 81, Golden State 80 with 8:08 remaining.

11:00 – Oh man!

Our amended score is Golden State 80, Houston 79 with 8:08 remaining. The removed basket was the one I missed at the start of the fourth quarter when my cable froze up.

11:01 – Two James Harden free throws returns our score to Rockets 81, Warriors 80.

11:02 – Eric Gordon fakes, and draws a Kevin Durant foul as he goes back up for a three. Gordon got Durant so bad that he came out of one of his shoes. On top of that, he hits all three free throws, and the Rockets led balloons up to 84-80.

11:04 – Durant draws a shooting foul on the other end, but it’s just on a regular old two pointer. Nevertheless, he puts in the free throws, and the Warriors cut their deficit back down to two at 84-82.

11:06 – More free throws, this time a pair from James Harden, extends the Rockets lead to 86-82. He’s 9-9 from the line tonight, but 4-16 from everywhere else for 19 points.

11:07 – Klay Thompson gets trapped along the baseline and has to burn a time out with the score still Houston 86, Golden State 82 with 5:59 to go.

11:10 – We’re back from the time out with James Harden intercepting the inbounds pass and taking it all the way for a dunk to give the Rockets an 88-82 advantage.

11:12 – Chris Paul gets to the hoop and banks in a shot, much to the delight of Rockets legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes, who are seen sitting court side giving fist pumps. It’ll send us into a time out with the score Houston 92, Golden State 86 with 4:05 remaining.

11:15 – Looks like we’re in for another time out after Klay Thompson is fouled shooting a three with the score still Houston 92, Golden State 86 with 3:09 now left on the clock.

11:17 – We’re back, and after Thompson hits all three free throws, the Warriors are back to within one possession, trailing 92-89.

11:19 – Draymond Green drives to the hoop, misses a layup, but cleans up the mess and puts it in, making this a one point game with the Warriors behind, 92-91.

11:20 – Eric Gordon knocks down a three! We’ll take a time out with the score Houston 95, Golden State 91 with 1:21 remaining.

11:22 – Draymond Green puts in a three, and we’re back to a one point game, with the Warriors down, 95-94.

11:24 – We have a time out, and Chris Paul appears to have injured his hamstring. The score’s still Houston 95, Golden State 94 with a mere 22.4 seconds remaining, and the Warriors will have the ball on the other side of this time out.

11:25 – Steph Curry can’t bank in a floater, and although Draymond Green gets a hand on the rebound, he bats it straight to Trevor Ariza, who is fouled to stop the clock with ten seconds left.

11:26 – Ariza hits the first free throw…and misses the second! After the Warriors grasp the rebound, they’ll take a time out with the score Houston 96, Golden State 94 with 6.7 seconds remaining. However, they may have to go the length of the court after Draymond Green makes a pass to Kevin Durant after tracking down the rebound.

11:28 – Steph Curry passes it ahead to Draymond Green….who loses control of the basketball! Eric Gordon scoops it up and is fouled with 2.4 seconds to go. Between the turnover and not calling a time out before passing the ball, it’s been a rough finish for Draymond Green. Also, the Warriors are now out of time outs.

11:29 – Gordon hits both free throws, and that’s going to seal the ballgame! Klay Thompson sends a shot across the court, but it’s well short, and our final score is Houston 98, Golden State 94.

Eric Gordon scored 24 off the bench to lead the Rockets, and Chris Paul came alive in the second half to finish with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and what looks like a hamstring injury. If you’re listening, Basketball Gods, please let it look worse than it actually is. Clint Capela chipped in with 12 points and 14 boards. James Harden scored 19, but shot just 5-21, including an unfathomable 0-11 from downtown, putting him at an even more unfathomable 20 straight missed three pointers. Despite that, the Rockets have won two in a row, and find themselves one win away from the NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant’s 29 led the Warriors, Klay Thompson added 23, and Steph Curry added 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Draymond Green had 12 points and 15 rebounds, but passing the ball instead of calling a time out right at the end of the game forced the Warriors to have to go the length of the court for a final shot, culminating in his wretched turnover. The defending champs are one loss away from elimination.

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Five

Obviously, the excitement of this game is tempered as we wait to hear an update on Chris Paul. He really pushed them over the top in the second half, and it would be a damn shame for him to make it this far in his first trip to the Conference Finals, only to be felled by an injury.

Now, these two teams head back over to Oakland for Game 6 on Saturday night. Before that, another Game 6 will take place Friday night between the Celtics and Cavs. We’re primed for an exciting weekend of basketball, and when the dust settles, the NBA Finals will be set.

 

2018 Western Conference Finals – Game 4

It’s time for another exciting edition of the 2018 NBA Conference Finals. People everywhere are beginning to lose their patience with all of these lousy blowouts we’re seeing. Hey, at least these aren’t sweeps we’re seeing. We’ve got one series tied at two, and we’re about to experience another important Game 4, this time between the Warriors and Rockets. Golden State’s up 2-1, and looking to head back to Houston up 3-1. Obviously, the Rockets desperately need a win here, but they’ll have to do it a game after suffering a 41 point loss. Now on paper, that looks like the recipe for a good ol’ fashion, hard fought, NBA playoff game. Let’s see how it all transpires. But first! Some news…

Obviously, Iguodala is an important part of the Warriors rotation. He’s a defensive wing who often plays better in the postseason, but will this even matter tonight? With the Warriors looking like their old selves, and at home, can the Rockets take advantage of his absence?

9:00 pm – We’re welcomed to The Oracle by the familiar and welcome sound of Marv Albert’s voice. Chris Webber and Reggie Miller will be joining him. A far cry from the days of Marv and the czar himself, Mike Fratello, but they beat the hell out of that lousy ESPN crew.

9:03 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and we’re underway out in Oakland. Klay Thompson quickly nails a jumper, and the Warriors go up 2-0.

9:10 – Kevin Durant hits a three, and we’ll have time out because the score’s Golden State 12, Houston 0 with 7:06 left in the first quarter. The Rockets are 0-7 to start the game, and do not look like a team that won 65 games this season.

9:13 – After a Warriors turnover, James Harden gets an easy layup at the other end, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr calls a time out to stop the bleeding because the Rockets have made the score Golden State 12, Houston 2 with 6:42 left in the first quarter.

9:22 – Jordan Bell goaltends a layup from James Harden, and we’ll have another time out with the score Golden State 21, Houston 12 with 2:36 left in the first quarter.

9:29 – Eric Gordon beats the buzzer with a quick layup on a nice inbounds pass from Chris Paul with just 0.04 seconds left in the quarter, and we’ll head into a commercial break with the score Golden State 28, Houston 19 after one.

Kevin Durant has ten points and five boards to lead the Warriors, and James Harden has nine to lead the Rockets. After a stirring 19-14 run, the Rockets are somehow within single digits after surrendering a 12-0 lead to start off the game. They showed signs of life as the first quarter went along, and if they can just find some consistency, maybe we’ll have a game?

9:33 – Eric Gordon gets to the bucket for a layup, and the Rockets strike first in the second, and have this deficit down to 28-21.

9:37 – Klay Thompson is off to the locker room after landing hard on his knee a little bit ago. With Andre Iguodala already out, the Warriors could find themselves stretched a little thin (only a little) if Thompson does not return.

9:42 – After a Shaun Livingston foul, we’ll got another time out with the score Golden State 36, Houston 28 with 6:43 remaining in the first half. If the Rockets are going to make a game of this, they’re going to need more from Chris Paul, who is 1-5 from the floor and has but one assist.

9:46 – We’re back in action, and Klay Thompson is back on the Warriors bench. David Aldridge chimes in to report that he’s got a knee strain.

9:47 – James Harden just dunked all over Draymond Green! Chris Webber ruins it by screaming “OH!” a good six or seven times as they show the replays. Not an exaggeration. Harden was fouled as well, and all of a sudden, it’s a two point game with the Rockets behind, 36-34.

9:52 – Klay Thompson knocks down a three in the corner, and we’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 41, Houston 37 with 3:52 left in a first half that has suddenly grabbed everyone’s attention. It’s amazing what a simple close game (and big-ass dunk) will do.

10:04 – We’re here at halftime and the Rockets have the lead! The score’s Houston 53, Golden State 46. Kevin Durant is up to 15 points and 5 boards to lead the Warriors, but James Harden has 24 after a magnificent second quarter. Perhaps more importantly, Chris Paul came alive towards the end of the half, and has himself up to 14 points.

Compounding the Warriors issues are three Steph Curry fouls which kept him on the bench down the stretch of the second quarter, no doubt in fear the Rockets would attack him every time down the court to try and force a fourth. Also, the Warriors have turned the ball over ten times, and are just 3-12 from beyond the arc, whereas the Rockets are 7-17 from downtown.

This is more like it! A goddamn interesting, exciting, intriguing game!

10:21 – Trevor Ariza splits a pair of free throws, scoring the first point of the second half in the process, and extending the Rockets lead to 54-46.

10:23 – Draymond Green rescues a bit of a broken play and finds Kevon Looney under the basket for a layup, and it’s back to a one possession game with the Warriors down, 54-51.

10:24 – Clint Capela hits a little hook shot in the paint, and the Rockets go up, 56-51.

10:25 – Before he can step to the line for some free throws, Draymond Green and Chris Paul engage in some unfriendly mouthing off with one another. I feel like the Playoffs are back! Anyway, Draymond hits both free throws, and the Warriors trail, 56-53.

10:26 – Chris Paul ventures towards the hoop and puts in a floater, extending the Rockets lead to 58-53.

10:27 – A Kevin Durant jumper cuts the Warriors deficit to 58-55.

10:30 – A couple of free throws from Eric Gordon pushes the Rockets lead to 60-55. Meanwhile, Reggie Miller is chatting with some boxer that’s sitting nearby during the game.

10:31 – Klay Thompson puts in a three from the corner, but it’s waved off due to a Draymond Green offensive foul. It’ll send us into a time out with the score Houston 62, Golden State 57 with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

10:36 – Steph Curry drains a DEEP three, getting the Warriors deficit down to two, at 62-60.

On the next possession, he follows it up with another three after some fancy dribbling to get himself open. The Warriors are on an 8-0 run, and back in the lead with a score of Golden State 63, Houston 62 as we go into a time out with 5:19 left in the third.

10:41 – Make it three in a row for Curry after Draymond Green passes up his own open three to find Steph in the corner.

Chris Paul answers with another three to keep the Rockets behind by one, at 66-65.

Steph Curry doesn’t care and comes back with a layup to get that Warriors lead up to 68-65.

10:42 – Klay Thompson adds another three to the mix, and the Warriors lead balloons up to 71-65.

10:43 – Kevin Durant opts to shoot a regular old two pointer, but the result is the same, and after his jumper goes down we have a time out with the score Golden State 73, Houston 65 with 2:52 left in the third quarter.

10:48 – After another patented Warriors third quarter onslaught, the scoreboard reads Golden State 80, Houston 70 as we head into the fourth. Steph Curry has 25 points and 5 rebounds for the Warriors, and Kevin Durant’s right there with 21 & 11. Draymond Green has 10 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. James Harden’s up to 28 for the Rockets, but like many a team before them, they were caught in a Golden State third quarter avalanche.

10:54 – Steph Curry finds Shaun Livingston for a big dunk that brings us the first points of the fourth quarter. The Warriors lead, 82-70.

10:58 – A pair of PJ Tucker free throws gets this back to a one possession game with the Rockets trailing, 82-79.

10:59 – Draymond Green hilariously blows a dunk, but he’s fouled in the ensuing scrum for the ball, and he’ll have free throws when we come back from a time out with the score still Golden State 82, Houston 79 with 7:58 remaining.

11:03 – I made a mistake! No free throws for Draymond when we return to action.

11:04 – Kevin Durant hits a fall away over Chris Paul. He’s up to 23 points, and the Warriors lead is up to 84-79. On the other end, Chris Paul comes back with a three, and he’s got 26, and the Rockets are down, 84-82.

11:06 – Trevor Ariza beats the shot clock with a three! The Rockets have withstood and erased that third quarter explosion from the Warriors to retake the lead at 85-84.

11:08 – Two Kevin Durant free throws returns the lead to the Warriors at 86-85.

11:09 – Trevor Ariza puts in a pair of free throws, and the Rockets regain the lead at 87-86.

11:10 – James Harden goes in for a layup, and the Rockets lead goes up to 89-86.

11:12 – Eric Gordon hits a pair of free throws, and Houston’s lead is all the way up to 91-86, but on the other end, Steph Curry gets to the basket for a layup, plus a foul! But first, a time out with the score Houston 91, Golden State 88 with 3:18 to go.

11:16 – Steph cans the free throw and the Warriors trail, 91-89 as the Rockets bring the ball up the floor.

11:17 – Eric Gordon knocks down a three to extend the Rockets lead to 94-89.

11:19 – Kevin Durant hits a pair of free throws to keep this one close with the Warriors down, 94-91.

11:21 – After the shot clock runs out on the Rockets, we’ve got a time out with the score still Houston 94, Golden State 91 with 42.5 seconds to go.

11:22 – Steph Curry goes to the hoop but misses a layup, but Draymond Green is fouled by Chris Paul going for the rebound. It’ll send Green to the line with the Warriors in the bonus.

11:23 – Green splits the free throws, and the Warriors trail, 94-92.

11:24 – James Harden can’t beat the shot clock with a three, and the Warriors take the ball down the court without calling a time out. They can’t get off a good shot, and Klay Thompson misses a crummy shot with Chris Paul grabbing the rebound, and this is how this one comes to an end, although the refs are checking to see if Shaun Livingston fouled Paul grabbing the rebound.

11:26 – Oh for fuck’s sake. The refs say that Livingston fouled Paul with 00.5 seconds on the clock. Chris Paul steps to the line and misses the first one! Instead of missing the second one on purpose, he goes ahead and hits it, and the Warriors call their time out with the score Houston 95, Golden State 92 with juuuuuuuuust enough time left to launch a crazy-ass three at the buzzer.

11:28 – The Warriors get Steph Curry a really good look, but it doesn’t go down, and the Rockets escape with a 95-92 victory in a wacky, but thankfully close game.

What the hell just happened? Steph Curry led the Warriors with 28 points and 6 rebounds on 10-26 shooting, and Kevin Durant had 27 & 12, but shot just 9-24. Draymond Green added 11 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists.

James Harden finished with 30, and Chris Paul scored 27 for the Rockets. Clint Capela chimed in with 8 points and 13 rebounds, and PJ Tucker contributed 4 points and 16 rebounds.

What an impressive win by the Rockets. Not only did they survive falling behind 12-0 to start the game, they also survived the Warriors Third Quarter Experience, something which has sent many a team to their grave. It wasn’t pretty, but they played their asses off, especially on the defensive end, holding the mighty Warriors to 92 points.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Four

By the end of the game, everyone was running on fumes, and people will wonder why Steve Kerr didn’t call a time out on the last possession, and why Chris Paul didn’t purposely miss that second free throw, giving the Warriors a chance to tie the game at the buzzer. Imagine if Steph hit that final shot. Jesus.

It was a pretty ragged game at times, but the Basketball Gods answered our prayers. A close game! Not only that, but it’s a tied series heading back to Houston for Game 5. Say what you will about these Conference Finals, and everyone has, but there’s not much more we can ask for than twoย PIVOTAL GAME FIVES.

Speaking of, tomorrow night sees the Celtics back at home after their tough time out in Cleveland, looking to regain the lead in the Eastern Finals. Hopefully we get another close one like tonight. There’s nothing like the reinvigorating powers of NBA playoff excitement.