James Harden drained the game victor on a turnaround jumper with two seconds left as the Houston Rockets clipped the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors 97-96 in a first-round National Basketball Association playoff contest.
After missing the last two games nursing the ankle injury he suffered in Game 1 of the opening round series against the Houston Rockets, the team has listed Curry as “probable” for Game 4 on Sunday.
Curry reported being “pretty close” to pain-free, but noted he was rusty in full-speed drills. Yet, the word being used to describe the situation is “hopeful“, a word that doesn’t actually have much insight. While the Warriors can beat Houston without their star, they will be in very tough against the Los Angeles Clippers (likely opponent) in the second round if Curry’s ankle goes from tweaked to seriously injured due to not having enough rest. Klay Thompson scored 17 points, Draymond Green scored 9 and Golden State trailed for much of the game.
“I cost us the game, ” he said.
In assessing that play, the league said Friday that Harden initiated contact with Warriors defender Andre Iguodala before making the fall-away 10-foot shot with 2.7 seconds left, giving the Rockets a one-point lead. I know I have confidence with what I’ve been doing the last couple of days to kind of prove I can do what I need to do, whatever move I need to try to do execute. Curry will participate in a 5-on-5 scrimmage on Saturday and how he feels after that will be important in deciding if he can return in Game 4. “I guarantee you the Rockets are going to lose this game”.
HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 21: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots the go ahead shot against the Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center on April 21, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Klay Thompson contributed 17 points and eight rebounds, and Shaun Livingston, who again filled in for Curry, added 16 points.
The victory cuts Houston’s deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.