Powell: Harden, Rockets "Choked" In Game 5

The Houston Rockets missed a golden opportunity to go up 3-2 on the Warriors, Shaun Powell says, and they might regret it

May 10, 2019 - 11:08 am
Steph Curry Warriors Rockets Game 5

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With the Warriors leading 68-65 in the third quarter of Game 5 on Wednesday, Kevin Durant landed awkwardly after a midrange jumper and grabbed the back of his leg. He left the game, did not return, and will miss the remainder of the series against Houston.

Thus, the Rockets had a chance beat the KD-less Warriors and go up 3-2 in the series. 

They did not. 

The Warriors outscored the Rockets 32-27 in the fourth quarter to win 104-99.

“The Rockets just choked,” NBA.com's Shaun Powell said on Ferrall on the Bench. “How do you not win that game? How does James Harden only take three shots in the fourth quarter? I was just stunned how they were passive, they didn’t seize the moment, and you don’t know whether you’re going to get another moment like that.”

Steph Curry came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 25 points to lead the Warriors to victory.

“Steph Curry finally became Steph Curry, at least for one quarter, and he got just enough help to win that game,”  Powell said. “The Warriors did what they had to do, and now they have two chances to win one.”

While the Warriors have less margin for error without Durant, the Rockets missed a golden opportunity to go up 3-2 with a chance to close out Golden State at home in Game 6 on Friday.

“You can’t keep blowing chances in the playoffs because you never know what’s lurking around the corner,” Powell said. “The bottom line is the Rockets will face two elimination games, and the Warriors will only face one.”

Still, the Warriors will have to play “at their very best” to beat Houston.

“Steph Curry and Klay Thompson may have to combine for at least 60 points, assuming that James Harden is going to score in the mid-upper 30s – and maybe even 40 points,” Powell said. “There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Klay and Steph – and those are the only two scorers that the Warriors really have. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on them to not have an off night. Before, they could get away with it. Maybe Klay doesn’t shoot that well, and maybe Steph and KD do. But now, this is a situation where these two guys have to be not only scoring well and being aggressive, but they have to be efficient doing so for the Warriors to have a shot.” 

Click below to listen to Powell’s interview in its entirety.