Warriors steal home-court advantage with Game 1 win over Rockets

Houston brought its MVP to the table in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and James Harden had 41 points on 24 shots, hit five threes and had seven assists.

It wasn't enough on Monday night, however, as the Rockets lost home-court advantage.

"They took the challenge and played awfully well", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. The Rockets may want to keep an eye on him, as well as Durant, if they have any hopes of turning this series around before they travel to The Bay Area. I don't know what you do to guard him, ' Kerr said. "We try to get good shots every time down and defend on the other end".

Starting a playoff series on the road for the first time since 2014, the Warriors trailed by as many as nine early, but had evened it up by half-time and used a big run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to pull away.

The Warriors were in ruthless form as they nudged ahead in the third period in Houston and showed no signs of letting their lead slip in a 119-106 victory, with Kevin Durant totalling 37 points.

I took a chance and predicted that the Houston Rockets would win this series, and while I never panic after one game, I'm not almost as confident as I was earlier.

"You're not going to just come in and knock them out", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said.

While it's only Game 1 of the series, you could see that devastation on the faces and in the body language of the Rockets late in Monday's contest.

Green earned his fastest technical foul in any regular-season or postseason game, picking up one with 10:53 left in the first quarter after he shoved James Harden after Harden made a layup over Durant.

Either the Warriors, seeking their third crown in four seasons, or the Rockets, who had the best record in the NBA this season, will face Cleveland or Boston in the NBA Finals.

"They're obviously champions for a reason", D'Antoni said. "We've got this far doing that and having that mindset, so we're just going to continue with it". But we can withstand that. "They're getting dunks, they're getting threes and I'm not sure how many transition points they had but it was too many".

Durant added two free throws to close out the quarter and leave the Warriors up 87-80 entering the fourth. The Warriors made eight open 3-pointers, including Thompson's dagger, and shot 23-of-31 on uncontested looks overall. They conceded the game to the Warriors.

"Houston, they never stop", Durant said.

Iguodala 2-3 7-8 11, Durant 14-27 6-6 37, D.Green 1-5 3-4 5, Curry 8-15 1-2 18, Thompson 9-18 4-4 28, West 1-1 0-0 2, Looney 1-1 0-0 2, Livingston 3-5 1-1 7, Young 3-5 0-0 9.

Durant was enormous when Stephen Curry was out with a sprained MCL - an injury that kept him out until Game 2 of the second round - and Klay Thompson has been hot-and-cold all postseason, but the Warriors were never truly in danger until they lost Game 3 to the Pelicans.

  • Steve Townsend