Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Harden hits late winner for Rockets over Warriors

Published:Saturday | April 23, 2016 | 4:00 AM

HOUSTON (AP):

Houston's James Harden scored 35 points, including the game-winner with 2.7 seconds left, as the Rockets capitalised on Stephen Curry's absence to beat Golden State 97-96 on Thursday, narrowing the deficit in their NBA first-round play-off series to 2-1.

The other two series contested Thursday also stand at 2-1 as Oklahoma City comfortably beat Dallas, and Toronto won at Indiana.

The game at Houston built to a late climax as Shaun Livingston stole a pass from Trevor Ariza to create Ian Clark's lay-up, which put Golden State up by a point with 10.6 seconds left.

Harden then took it to the other end and stepped back for the jump shot to win it.

"The last shot was typical of what James does," Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "The move, we've seen before. The finish, we've seen before. You do get spoiled by it at times, but in these biggest of moments, you can't help but appreciate it."

Golden State had a chance to win it after that, but Draymond Green dribbled the inbounds pass off his foot and out of bounds.

Marreese Speights came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 22 points and Klay Thompson had 17.

Dwight Howard added 13 points, 13 rebounds, and had two blocks for Houston.

Curry was feeling better on Thursday and wanted to play, but the Warriors decided the chance of him re-injuring his ankle before it was fully healed wasn't worth the risk. Coach Steve Kerr said they would have a better feel for his availability for Game 4 tomorrow after they see how he responds to the next two days of practice.

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant bounced back from the worst shooting game of his play-off career with 34 points, which led the Thunder to a 131-102 victory over Dallas.

Durant had seven field goals midway through the second quarter on nine shots, compared with the 33 attempts he needed to seven in a Game 2 loss.

The 2014 MVP scored 20 points in the first half when the Thunder led by as many as 19 points.

Game 4 is today in Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki played despite a right-knee bruise and scored 16 points for the Mavericks, who missed 10 of their first 12 shots from 3-point range.

Russell Westbrook scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half and had 15 assists.

Toronto's DeMar DeRozan rebounded from his post-season shooting slump, and he and Kyle Lowry scored 21 points to lead the Raptors to a 101-85 win at Indiana.