NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Fred Faour: 5 quick thoughts on the Rockets' Game 4 win over the Warriors

Chris Paul came up huge. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Rockets came back from their 41-point Game 3 loss to beat the Warriors 95-92 and even the Western Conference Finals at 2-2. Five quick observations on the win:

  1. Paul came to play: Chris Paul was terrible in the Game 3 loss, but he came up huge when it mattered. He scored 27 points and carried the Rockets to victory. He hit big shots, played great defense and was clutch.

  2. A tale of two Hardens: James Harden played like one of the game’s best in the first half to keep the Rockets in the game. But he managed just six points in the second half and missed several chances to close out the game down the stretch. He needs to put two halves together, but his first half performance was key.

  3. Defense! Defense! The Rockets were terrific on defense, especially down the stretch when their offense faltered. Holding the Warriors to just 92 points was huge. The Warriors don't have many 12-point quarters, but that is what happened in the fourth.

  4. Turnovers, again. The team winning the turnover battle has won all four games. The Rockets just had 10, while the Warriors had 16. 

  5. Overcoming a bad start: The Rockets were in a 12-0 hole before you could blink. But they recovered and ended Golden State’s homecourt playoff winning streak. It was a big win. The Rockets were down by 12 in the fourth and still pulled it off.

The bottom line: The Rockets had to have this. They could not go down 3-1. Proving they could win at Oracle was huge. They tried to give it away late, but the Warriors struggled down the stretch, too. The Rockets now return home with a chance to go up 3-2 and we now officially have a competitive series.

 

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