Durant, Warriors nip Rockets to clinch Game 1
WASHINGTON, USA – Kevin Durant scored 35 points to lead the Golden State Warriors over the Houston Rockets, 104-100, in the Western Conference semifinals opener on Sunday, April 28 (Monday, April 29, Philippine time).
The defending two-time NBA champions also received a big boost from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who after being questionable for Game 1 due to right ankle injuries scored 18 and 13 points, respectively.
Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green each added 14 as the Warriors jumped ahead in the best-of-seven playoff series.
James Harden led Houston with 35 points while Eric Gordon added 27 and Chris Paul contributed 17 in a losing cause, with the Rockets hitting only 41.9% from the floor.
"We just made them shoot tough shots," Durant said. "I think our defense won this game."
Kevin Durant joined @KingJames, @alleniverson and Michael Jordan as the fourth player within a single year to score 200 points in a 5-game span over the last 30 postseasons (via @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/WZoCQxvaMe— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 29, 2019
The Warriors had lost their two prior playoff home games to the Los Angeles Clippers before escaping the first round, but hung on down the stretch to halt that unwanted streak.
Curry sank a three-pointer to give the Warriors a five-point lead with 25 seconds remaining, but Harden answered with a dunk to lift the Rockets within 100-103 with 21 seconds remaining.
Houston forced a turnover but Harden missed a triple while Paul got the rebound but then made a turnover and was ejected after a technical foul with 4 seconds remaining.
Curry then sunk a free throw to create the final victory margin.
"Just getting more opportunities," Durant said of his performance. "We've got to win every matchup. We'll bring the focus again Tuesday (for Game 2)."– Rappler.com