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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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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