With two of the NBA's biggest stars, Kevin Durant and James Harden, sidelined by injuries, Thursday night's Warriors-Rockets showdown in Houston lost some of its luster. Three players of the hosts (Griffin, Jordan and Williams) scored at least 24 points, but it was not enough to extend its winning streak to five games.
The Rockets (27-9), who have lived up to their billing as the Western Conference team most likely to challenge the Warriors, also are short-handed, as MVP candidate James Harden will miss his second consecutive game.
They scored the next fight points - including a three-pointer from Curry - to rubber-stamp the win and send the home fans heading for the exits. But Andre Iguodala returned after sitting out Wednesday night with back and hip strains and had 10 points and eight assists. Paul would add with 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 13 assists. For now, let's all appreciate the fact that Gerald Green is back in the league getting buckets. The Rockets didn't waiver destroying the Magic wire to wire in their first age without Harden, But the Golden State Warriors are no Orlando Magic. But a Houston win Thursday would have been a nice psychological edge for Paul, whose Clippers teams were often humiliated by the Warriors, who have always seemed particularly hell-bent on beating Paul's teams.
Los Angeles managed to pull away before halftime as the typically dependable Rockets offense went cold.
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Paul nailed four late free throws to clinch the hard-earned victory for Houston.
This will be his sixth missed game this season. D'Antoni prefers nearly a more straight-forward approach, giving his best players the ball, and setting up plays for them to make something happen. Paul received a technical foul in the fourth quarter. "I didn't want to mess with that, that's his moneymaker". Durant said his year with the Longhorns built the foundation of who he is today as a player and person.
"I just try to play within our system and try to play to my strengths", Green said. "He's one of those guys it seems like you should just leave him open because it's all of the challenged ones that he makes".