With the ball in his hands and his team down by one in final seconds Rockets star James Harden passed. Once he got the ball back he was double teamed and the potential winning shot was bobbled away. Another classic Rockets comeback fell short in a 99-98 loss. The Warriors escaped to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Rockets clawed back from an 8-point deficit in the final 1:39 to set up the final sequence.
Leading by one, the Warriors ran the shot clock down and Harrison Barnes missed at the rim under strong pressure from Dwight Howard. Harden grabbed the rebound with 8.8 seconds left. Instead of calling timeout, Kevin McHale was glad to let his best player run into the open court.
"Someone fell down for them, so I just let them go," McHale said. "We'll take our best player. Once he bobbled it I tried to call time out. Once I saw two guys (Warriors) behind the play, if nothing else we had a four on three."
Harden added, "I got the ball off the glass and I'm thinking an easy one. Once they double teamed I saw a red jersey and passed. Just a tough, tough play."
The #Rockets refuse to back down. They've fought and clawed and now they need to do that more than ever,— Greg Bailey (@GregBailey13) May 22, 2015
McHale pulled Harden aside in the locker room after the game but declined to say what he told the MVP runner-up. "I will take our best player coming down hill in a broken court any day. That's where he feasts. We've got to win Game 3 and we've got to do it by fighting and scrapping. We're not gonna go anywhere. We've just got to keep swinging."
Harden admitted to his frustration afterwards, kicking chairs in the locker room. But he vowed to come back strong for Game 3 Saturday at home, "We're really confident about what we have going on. We've got to go out there and compete the way we've been competing." Harden poured in 38 points to lead the Rockets.