THE Houston Rockets caught fire in the fourth to stun the Golden State Warriors, 122-121, at Oracle Arena on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).
Houston looked lethargic to start as Golden State started out on fire after receiving their championship rings and raising the championship banner in the season opener for the reigning champs.
Nick Young was the surprise leader for the Warriors early on with 20 points before the break, where Golden State led by as much as 17.
But a 13-3 run by the Rockets to start the fourth quarter got the lead down to three, 104-101, midway through the period.
Curry then took charge late, scoring nine straight points for the Warriors, just enough to keep the rampaging Rockets at bay, 118-115, with over three minutes left to play.
Still, Houston refused to wilt even with Curry’s blitz as Trevor Ariza knocked down a big trey to cut the gap to one, 119-118, inside the final two minutes. A James Harden jumper and a pair of free throws from PJ Tucker finally gave the Rockets their first taste of the lead, 122-121, with 44 ticks remaining.
Harden, though, missed on what could have been a dagger triple off a Warriors turnover. But the Rockets escaped with a stunning victory after Curry missed with a trey and Kevin Durant’s shot failed to beat the buzzer.
Harden led Houston with 27 points, including four triples, and 10 assists, while reserves Eric Gordon and Tucker scored 24 and 20, respectively.
Chris Paul, however, struggled with his shot in his Rockets debut with four points on 2-of-9 shooting while dishing 11 assists and grabbing eight rebounds.
Young finished with 23 points, with six treys, to lead Golden State, as Curry and Durant had 22 and 20 markers, respectively.
The Warriors also suffered a double whammy as Draymond Green left the game late in the third quarter and never returned due to a knee injury.