Basketball

James Harden's 38 points help Houston Rockets level series

Warriors' Curry and Thompson shoot just two-of-10 from three-point range

James Harden scored 38 points and the Houston Rockets held off the Golden State Warriors 112-108 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to level their NBA play-off series at 2-2.

Reigning champions Warriors head home for Game 5 of the best-of-seven Western Conference clash tomorrow, with a lot of work to do in a series in which each game has been decided by six or fewer points.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Harden made sure the Rockets didn't fall into a similar hole.

Harden scored 13 of his 18 first-half points in the second quarter and added another 13 in the third, when the Rockets stretched their lead to as many as 17.

The Warriors responded with an 11-0 scoring run in the third period, and put together a 7-0 run late in the fourth, when they pulled within 108-110 on a Stephen Curry three-pointer with 19.3 seconds left.

Down 111-108 with 11.5 seconds remaining, Golden State saw Kevin Durant and Curry miss three-point attempts.

"Our motto was keep fighting," said Harden, who also pulled down 10 rebounds. "We know how tough they are.

"We've got to keep fighting on both ends of the floor, stay in attack mode, be aggressive."

Eric Gordon added 20 points for the Rockets and PJ Tucker added 17 and 10 rebounds.

Durant paced the Warriors with 34 points.

Curry added 30 points and Draymond Green posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

But, in another bruising encounter between the two teams, Golden State made just eight of 33 three-point attempts. Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot just two-of-10 from three-point range.

The Rockets, meanwhile, hit 17 of 50 from beyond the arc.

In Boston, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks pushed past the Boston Celtics 113-101 to move one win from advancing in the NBA play-offs.

The Bucks' third straight victory - and their second on the Celtics' home floor - put Milwaukee up 3-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series.

They will try to put it away when they host Game 5 tomorrow.

Antetokounmpo, coming off a 32-point game on Friday, connected on 15 of 22 shots from the field and pulled down 16 rebounds. Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton added 13 points apiece.

"It's amazing," Antetokounmpo said. "I think the whole group, the whole team played hard. Everybody was ready, everybody stepped up. - AFP

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