James Harden scored 35 points Thursday night, including the game-winning shot with 2.7 seconds to play, and the Houston Rockets took advantage of Stephen Curry’s absence for a 97-96 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at Houston.
The victory cut the Warriors’ lead to 2-1 in the Western Conference first-round series.
Shaun Livingston stole a pass from Trevor Ariza and Ian Clark’s layup put the Warriors up by one point with 10.6 seconds left. Harden then took the ball to the other end and drove into the key before stepping back for the jump shot to win it.
Golden State had a chance to win it after that, but Draymond Green dribbled the inbounds pass off his foot and out of bounds.
Reserve Marreese Speights led the Warriors with 22 points and Klay Thompson scored 17.
The Warriors blew out the Rockets in the series opener with Curry on the court, and pulled away late in Game 2 to go up 2-0 despite last year’s MVP watching from the bench because of a sprained right ankle. Curry was not on the bench with the team for this one and it was unclear where he watched the game.
The Rockets, after a plea from Coach J.B. Bickerstaff that they be “nastier,” were much more aggressive and scrappy than they had been in the first two games and led by as many as 17 points in the first half.
Oklahoma City 131, at Dallas 102: Kevin Durant bounced back from the worst shooting game of his playoff career, scoring 34 points to lead the rout.
Durant had made seven of nine shots midway through the second quarter after making only seven of 33 in a Game 2 loss that followed a 38-point Thunder victory in the opening game of the Western Conference series.
The 2014 MVP scored 20 points in the first half, when the Thunder led by as many as 19 points on their way to a 2-1 lead in the series.
Dirk Nowitzki played despite a right knee bruise and scored 16 points for Dallas. But the Mavericks let the Thunder dictate the pace and couldn’t keep up, missing 10 of their first 12 three-point shots and never leading.
Russell Westbrook scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half for the Thunder. Westbrook, who led the NBA in triple-doubles during the regular season, also had 15 assists but no redounds.
Toronto 101, at Indiana 85: DeMar DeRozan rebounded from his playoff shooting slump to score 21 points and help the Raptors take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.
Kyle Lowry also scored 21 points for the Raptors, who reclaimed home-court advantage after squandering it by losing the series opener last weekend.
Indiana was led by Paul George, who had 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Rookie Myles Turner scored 11 of 17 points in the second half.
But after the opening minutes, the game was never close