Oddly enough, on the Warriors' next-to-last play in which Durant could have found a wide-open Thompson for a lay-up had he had his head up and eyes forward, he missed him, then passed to his hobbled teammate too late on the left wing.
Whether the Warriors did tire or not is unknown, but the fourth quarter numbers speak volumes. Everything seemed in place for their record-extending 17th straight National Basketball Association (NBA) play-off home win.
The Rockets broke thru and beat the Warriors at Oakland by just 3 points 95-92 in the only real close game of the 8 conference championship series games that went down to the final shot of the game. A replay review ensued and it was determined Shaun Livingston fouled Paul before the game ended, so Paul made a free throw with 0.5 seconds left.
Golden State was outscored 25-12 in the final frame Tuesday.
Though the pressure to perform is heightened for Harden and Paul, Rockets players and D'Antoni agree that they can't get it done without plenty of help from Houston's supporting cast. This is the task sitting on Houston's shoulders ahead of tonight's game.
"We know how hard it is to come back from 3-1", Paul said. "Now, you've got to find the will". "We knew we needed one here and we got it". It was the first time an opponent has beaten the Warriors on their home floor in the playoffs since the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, and that Warriors team didn't have Durant. After falling to the Warriors in five games in consecutive postseasons, the Rockets have finally cleared one hurdle.
Warriors fall to Rockets 95-92, series tied 2-2
The Warriors also lacked the defensive presence of veteran Andre Iguodala who sustained a left lateral leg contusion in Game 3 and is day-to-day. While he struggled in the first quarter, Paul went on to score or assist on 21 of Houston's 42 points in the second half. "I tried to buy a little bit of rest for our guys, but they just outplayed us in the fourth and they earned it".
But the Rockets held strong, winning an ugly fourth quarter by double-digits and equalizing the series.
It was a fun game to watch and folks on Twitter had just as much fun tweeting out amusing memes about the game too. Curry said after Game 4 on Tuesday, as quoted on Sporting News. "We're ready for it".
"Somebody asked me before the game about our adversity or how do we respond".
"This is the highest level of defense we've ever played", Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said.
"They're a really good team, especially at home", Harden said of the Warriors. Meaning a very young Celtics squad now has to win two out of three over LeBron James and whomever else is on the court with him.More news: Trump acted more like an enemy than a friend: EU chief