Harden scores 38 as Rockets level series with Warriors

Oakland (Agencies): James Harden paired a game-high 38 points with 10 rebounds while Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker provided ample support as the Houston Rockets squared their Western Conference semifinal series against the visiting Golden State Warriors with a 112-108 victory in Game 4 on Monday.

The best-of-seven series is tied at two games apiece ahead of Game 5 on Wednesday in Oakland, Calif. Gordon chipped in 20 points, and Tucker finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. While Houston shot just 17 of 50 from behind the arc, the volume of 3-pointers made a significant difference. The Warriors wound up just 8 of 33 from deep, including misses from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry in the waning moments with the Rockets leading by three after Harden missed the second of two free throws.

Chris Paul (13 points) sank one of two foul shots with 2.9 seconds to go, sealing the Rockets’ win. Houston led by as many as 17 points, claimed a 50-43 rebounding edge and allowed just 11 second-chance points. Durant led the Warriors with 34 points while Curry chipped in 30. However, Curry missed 10 of 14 3-point attempts while Klay Thompson continued his shooting woes, going 5 of 15 overall and 1 of 6 from deep. Draymond Green produced 15 points, 10 boards and five assists for the Warriors.

Houston used another barrage of treys to surge to a double-digit lead in the second quarter, starting with a Harden 26-footer at the 7:12 mark that pushed the Rockets to a 39-37 lead. Harden and Iman Shumpert added 3-pointers in succession before Gordon completed a three-point play and Austin Rivers drained a trey that capped a 20-6 run from the Rockets.

The Warriors fashioned a rally, and when Andre Iguodala drilled a 3-pointer just prior to the first-half buzzer, the Rockets led 61-54 at the intermission. When Houston threatened to run away in the third quarter following successive threes from Harden, Tucker and Harden again, the Warriors trailed 77-60 only to respond with a 22-9 push that cut the margin to 86-82 on a Curry layup.

From that point, the Rockets managed a reply whenever Golden State pulled close, including critical baskets from Harden and Paul after the Warriors surged down the stretch in the fourth quarter.