James Harden lost the ball, the game and his cool.
And the Warriors gained a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
The Rockets erased a 17-point deficit in the first half and ended the game on a 6-0 run and with possession, but Golden State escaped Game 2 with a 99-98 win.
Harden (38 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and three steals) seemingly did everything for Houston, including scoring 10 of his team’s final 12 points and assisting the other basket. After the Rockets forced a miss with seven seconds left, Harden grabbed the defensive rebound and pushed the ball up court. But Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson trapped Harden and caused him to lose control of the ball:
Afterward, Harden took out his anger on some curtains:
Credit the Warriors for not falling so easily, even as Harden did so much to topple them.
Stephen Curry (33 points and six assists) will get credit for besting Harden again, just as he did in MVP voting. Truth be told, Harden outplayed Curry on Thursday and it wasn’t close.
The Warriors are just the more complete team – especially when they stay out of their own way.
Golden State – notably Curry (six turnovers) and Draymond Green (four turnovers) – attempted too many risky passes and allowed the Rockets to get steals and out in transition.
Dwight Howard (19 points and 17 rebounds) played excellently, especially considering he’s battling a knee injury. But Andrew Bogut (14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five blocks) more than held his own in the center matchup.
Aside from its two stars, Houston shot just 18-for-52 from the field, including 4-for-17 on 3-pointers, and generated only two free throws.
Golden State is too good to beat like that – as much as Harden tried to prove otherwise.