OAKLAND, Calif. — After blowing a 20-point second-half lead and watching James Harden hit an “impossible” game-winning 3-pointer, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson felt the Golden State Warriors gave away a 135-134 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets.
“For sure,” Curry said. “You have a lead like that, you don’t lose at home.”
“Slow rotations or just a little laziness with that lead,” Curry added. “But you have a lead like that, it’s a tough way to go out.”
The problem for the Warriors is they now have lost three straight games at home, with the past two coming on extremely difficult game-winning 3-pointers in overtime to follow a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day.
A week ago, the Portland Trail Blazers‘ Damian Lillard made a 26-foot 3-pointer before falling down along the right side to lift his team to a 110-109 overtime win at Oracle. This time, the Warriors watched Harden drill a 29-foot 3-pointer — which Warriors coach Steve Kerr described as an “impossible shot” — over Thompson and Draymond Green with 2.7 seconds left.
Harden’s shot capped a scintillating performance that saw the reigning MVP finish with 44 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. Kevin Durant (26 points) missed a 3-pointer at the end.
“I do feel we did,” Thompson said when asked whether the Warriors gave this latest home loss away. “I don’t think we played with that killer instinct in that second half. I think we relaxed being up.”
Golden State (25-14) led 73-53 with 11:14 remaining in the third quarter. The Warriors looked like their old selves in the first half when they made 63.6 percent of their shots, including 7 of 15 3-pointers, to carry a 70-53 lead into intermission.
But that 17-point halftime cushion would end up being the largest halftime lead the Warriors would blow since Jan. 20, 2007, as Harden scored 13 of his points in the third quarter.
For the Warriors, this continues their head-scratching uneven play the past two months. Since an 11-2 start, the Warriors are 14-12 after injuries to Curry and Green and drama between Green and Durant.
“I’m not sure but we’ll stay the course and get back to doing what we do,” Thompson said of why the Warriors have not been able to play a complete game. “It’s a different year than it has in the past. Although we are not blowing teams out, we are still 11 games above .500 with a chance to go on a run here before All-Star break. It’s not the end of the world.”
Even though Curry, who led the Warriors with 35 points, didn’t like the way the game ended, he enjoyed the back-and-forth between the Rockets and Warriors. It wouldn’t surprise Curry to see the Rockets in a postseason rematch after the Warriors overcame a 3-2 deficit to beat Houston in seven games in the Western Conference finals last year.
“It’s high-quality basketball for sure,” Curry said. “You got to expect that if we take care of business, they take care of business, we might see each other again in the playoffs. Two talented teams going at it, and they got the best of us tonight.”