James Harden hits step-back game winner, Rockets upset Warriors

9 Comments

Ian Clark hit the transition lay-up to put the Warriors up by one with 10.6 seconds left — yes, Ian Clark, he was fantastic, but that’s another story — and the Rockets were out of time outs.

But they had James Harden.

Harden brought the ball up the court, Andre Iguodala picked him up 30 feet out, Harden drove hard to his left, spun back to the middle and as he did push Iguodala to create space, then he stepped back and nailed the 13-foot jumper. Was that a foul by Harden? Technically, but there is zero chance any referee would call it in that situation, which is why you saw Michael Jordan (on Byron Russell most famously) and Kobe Bryant among others do the same thing. It’s a savvy veteran move by an elite scorer.

The Rockets were up 97-96 and won by that score when Draymond Green dribbled the ball off his foot out of bounds. The Warriors lead the series 2-1, and you can expect Stephen Curry to be back for Game 4, but the Rockets have opened the door in this series with their best game by far.

And Harden led the way.