Down big at home, the
It turned out to make a huge difference.
Stephen Curry hit two free throws in the final seconds to finish with 34 points, and the Warriors rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second quarter to beat the
With the Rockets seemingly ready to rout the home team, the Warriors used a smaller lineup featuring
"It really stretches people out," Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said of his lineup full of shooters. "Houston does the same thing. It was an interesting chess match, because they like to go small and we like to go small."
Game 2 is Thursday night in Oakland, and Rockets Coach
"Hopefully Dwight is healthy and we can play big," McHale said. "We didn't have that option with Dwight out."
Harden, serenaded with chants of "Over-rated!" from Warriors fans, mixed in a series of step-back jumpers and driving layups to help Houston even the score at 95 midway through the fourth quarter.
But the Warriors shut down Houston for long stretches, and Curry kept hitting shots. He connected on a three-pointer and converted a layup to put Golden State up 108-97 with 2:01 remaining.
The Rockets never relented, though, with
Curry twice caught the inbounds pass, and the Rockets were forced to foul him both times. He hit both free throws to seal Golden State's win.
Curry added six rebounds and five assists, and Green had 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to boost the Warriors when they needed it most.
Ariza scored 20 points and
Howard played 26 minutes and had seven points and 13 rebounds.
In the conference finals for the first time since 1976, the Warriors hardly looked like the league's top-seeded team at the outset. Instead, the Rockets rode the momentum from a stunning 3-1 series comeback against the Clippers that ended with a Game 7 win in Houston on Sunday.