For the Golden State Warriors game 4 of the Western Conference Finals will be one of missed opportunities. Untimely turnovers, shaky offense, and lack of attention to detail would prove to be their undoing.
The Warriors began the game by taking a 12-0 lead. Golden State would control the opening period, with Houston able to draw no closer than 9, which is where the deficit would be when the quarter drew to a close.
James Harden would get it going in the second quarter, scoring 15 points , including a monstrous dunk over Draymond Green. Harden’s exploits, combined with Stephen Curry having to be sat after picking up his third foul at the 5:06 mark helped to turn what was a four point deficit into a seven point lead by halftime.
Like game 3, the third quarter marked another Stephen Curry explosion. He scored 17 points in the period and it seemed Golden State had reclaimed control of the game helped propel the Warriors to a ten point kead heading into the fourth quarter.
Through it seemed Golden State was in control of the game, but they channeled their inner Toronto Raptor and proceeded to play stupid basketball and go away from things that had been working for them. Kevin Durant helped the Rockets’ defense by forcing shots. Durant was a mere 1-of-5 from the field in the fourth quarter.
This is not to say the Rockets were just bystanders in the Warriors’ downfall; Houston played solid defense and did a great job of mucking up the Warriors’ offense.
They also got the Warriors to play at their pace. It is easy to think that because of the amount of three point shots the Rockets put up, they play at the most blistering pace in the NBA but they only played at only the 14 fastest pace at 99.73 possessions per 48 minutes and in the playoffs the 9th fastest at 98.33 possessions per 48. If the Rockets can continue to control the pace, it will put them at a decided advantage.
The series resumes Thursday for game 5 in Houston. Tip off is 9:00 PM EST.