HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets refused to change the way they play after falling to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 on Monday. All they needed to do was become a better version of themselves.
James Harden scored 27 points as he led a balanced Rockets attack en route to a 127-105 win over the Warriors in Game 2 at the Toyota Center on Wednesday night. The win evened up the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
Houston came out firing and led by five points after the first quarter. The Warriors scored 21 points in the opening 12 minutes, their lowest of any playoff game they’ve played this season. The Rockets blew the game open with a fast pace and outscored the Warriors 38-29 second quarter.
“You’re not gonna come in and change the way you play,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “That’s the way we played all year…We are who we are”
The series now shifts to Oakland for Game’s three and four beginning on Sunday night.
Eric Gordon added 27 points for Houston and PJ Tucker chipped in 22 for the Rockets, who had five players in double figures. Chris Paul had 16 points but struggled as he dealt with an injury to his leg.
After struggling in Game 1 with foul trouble, Trevor Ariza was a different animal on Wednesday. He scored 19 points and played solid defense on Klay Thompson and switched off well on Kevin Durant when needed.
The Warriors kept things close the first quarter and even held a slim five-point lead. Despite Kevin Durant scoring a game-high 38 points, it was not enough. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combined for 24 points, with Thompson scoring just 8 points on 3-for-11 shooting.
”They were desperate tonight and played like it, and we weren’t and it showed,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
Houston looked like the team that had the best record in the league on Wednesday after really struggling against the defending champions in Game 1. The Rockets went 16-for-42 from three-point range and scored 30-plus points in three of the four quarters.
”We can beat anybody, anywhere at any time playing the way we play,” D’Antoni said.