Houston Rockets rise as Stephen Curry falls

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James Harden gave the Houston Rockets something to finally cheer about in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals in a 125-118 victory against Golden State Warriors at the Toyota Centre earlier this week.

Harden scored 45 points, while Stephen Curry managed to convert 23 after the point guard had a nasty fall in the second quarter.

But it was about time that Houston picked up the pace considering in Game Three they were mauled by the Golden State Warriors from the very first minute on their home court, as fans thought the return to Houston would be magical.

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However, Stephen Kerr's men were stronger and delivered a solid 115-80 victory to put the visitors in commanding position and leaving Kevin McHale weighing up his options.

Harden's cooking

One hope the Rockets' fans held onto was their shooting guard James Harden, and the 25-year-old played 40 minutes at the Toyota Centre, putting in an outstanding performance.

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In the first quarter Harden scored ten, behind Josh Smith's 13, but at the interval the hosts had a storming 23 point gap over the Warriors.

However, in the second quarter the pace stalled and only six points were converted by the former Oklahoma City Thunder player.

Then, to keep fans on their feet at the end of the first half, Harden attempted a shot from inside his own free throw lane, but it was ruled out as he launched the shot after the half-time buzzer.

Heading into the second half, Harden was back to his best hitting 16 in 12 minutes of the third quarter, before playing nine minutes of the fourth to score 17 points; converting 100% of both of his three pointer and field goal attempts.

Fans will know as long as Harden is fit they have a chance of bringing the storm, but heading back to The Oracle Arena for Game Five will be difficult for any team, especially with the lead the Warriors hold.

Steph Curry's fall

There was, however, one downside to this game and it was the injury to Stephen Curry, as the point guard suffered a bad fall in the second quarter.

Curry got off to a flyer scoring 11 points in the first quarter, but failed to keep Houston's lead to a manageable figure.

But it was in the second quarter when the incident occurred - Curry raced back to prevent Trevor Ariza scoring but jumped over the forward and landed awkwardly with his head hitting the court.

The 27-year-old walked off the court, but thoughts of concussion remained as the Ohio born player returned for the third to only score one point in five minutes before taking another rest.

It was a needed break for the guard, and a good decision by Kerr as Curry came back out in the fourth to score 11 points 12 minutes.

Overall it might have been a better decision for both parties if Curry sat out the rest of the game. Sure they would have still lost the game, but they still have a two game lead with the next encounter back in Oakland.

Why not rest their key man and get him back to full fitness for the home encounter, a match where Curry could really shine.

Game Five in Oakland

All that matters now is that the Houston Rockets keep this winning mentality, but everyone knows it will be difficult to go to the Oracle Arena and get a result on Wednesday.

In the regular season McHale's men failed to beat Kerr's side on four occasions, and in both games in Oakland in the play-offs the Rockets have suffered defeat, 110-108 and 99-98.

There is more pressure on Houston as a slip-up is not an option - and we discovered in the first three games that the Warriors are capable of taking the game to Houston in dominating style.

But, on the other hand, it would make this series very interesting if the Rockets could claim back-to-back victories with Game Six returning to Texas.

Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference
James Harden
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
NBA Playoffs

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