James Harden, Houston Rockets come up short against Warriors

While James Harden finished with 28 points, nine assists and four steals last night, it wasn't enough to get his Houston Rockets team past the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Houston built up a strong lead in the first half that got up to 16 at one point with Harden seemingly controlling the game with assist after assist.

Not close enough

But as they so often do, Golden State went on a run of their own to close out the half, outscoring the Rockets 25-6 in the last seven minutes.  

Harden, who labeled the Warriors "not even that good" earlier in the season has had a sour taste in his mouth after finishing second in MVP voting this season, with Stephen Curry receiving top honors.

In the build up to today's game, many people were asking the Rockets' star man if he had a point to prove and while he remained pretty tight-lipped towards the question, after tonight's loss he was clearly disappointed with the result, especially after an impressive display on his part.

However, being the player he is there's no question Harden will be motivated to play even better against the Warriors on Thursday. 

Surprise success

To be completely fair, the Rockets had a right to be disappointed after tonight's result as many people feel as though if it wasn't for a surprise performance from Warrior's bench player, Shaun Livingston, Houston would have been been victorious.

Livingston had a post-season career high 18 points off the bench and inspired the Warriors comeback in the second quarter.

Houston had two other players in double digits tonight with Trevor Ariza and Josh Smith combining for 37 points and ten boards, while Dwight Howard grabbed 15 rebounds despite injuring his left knee early in the contest.

Warriors response

However, Stephen Curry who was eager to prove he is in fact the real MVP, bagged 34 points and 5 assists and led the charge as the Warriors downed the Rockets at Oracle Arena for their fifth win against Houston this season.

James Harden and his team will have to find an answer quickly or else they run the risk of being swept by this high flying Golden State team. 

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