Rockets hold off Warriors
HOUSTON- James Harden scored a playoff career-high 45 points and the Rockets avoided a four-game sweep in the Western Conference finals by downing the Golden State Warriors 128-115. Harden contributed 17 points in the fourth quarter to help Houston avoid a late collapse and extend the series to a fifth game Wednesday in Oakland.
The Rockets scored 45 points in the first period and were up by 22 in the second quarter when Warriors guard Stephen (STEH'-fehn) Curry landed on his head in a nasty spill, causing the league MVP to miss about 12 minutes before returning.
The Warriors closed to within 10 points by halftime and were down by just six with 8 ½ minutes remaining before Houston went on a 10-0- run. Harden scored seven straight during the late spurt.
The Rockets shot 17-for-32 from 3-point range, with Harden hitting 7 of 11. Josh Smith delivered three 3-pointers in scoring 20 points, and Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Curry hit six of his 13 3-point attempts and finished with 23 points. Klay Thompson had a team-high 24 points for the Warriors, while Draymond Green added 21.