The Golden State Warriors faced the Houston Rockets in Game One of their best of seven series to represent the Western Conference in the 2018 NBA Finals. Deemed the series to be watching, the Rockets won two out of three against the Warriors during the regular season, and both teams finished the regular season with the best records in the Western Conference. Houston, playing the first two games of the series at home, jumped out to an early lead with MVP candidate James Harden scoring the teams’ first nine points. Kevin Durant would have the answer all night long as the Warriors stole Game One on the road 119-106.

Durant scored 37 points, while Klay Thompson scored 28 and Steph Curry had 18 points, six rebounds, and eight assists. Harden led all scorers with 41 while Chris Paul would have 21 points and ten assists with Eric Gordon chipping in 15.

Rockets have an early lead, Harden injured

James Harden hit a three-pointer on the Rockets’ opening possession and followed with a driving layup in which Draymond Green was called for a technical foul resulting in a three-point play. After a Steph Curry basket, Harden hit another three giving the Rockets a nine to two lead. After a Clint Capela slam dunk, the Rockets would lead by nine, 21-12. After back-to-back baskets by Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson would make a three-pointer cutting the Rockets’ lead to four.

With 3:17 remaining in the first quarter, Harden landed awkwardly on his ankle forcing him to leave the game although he would return to the game with 8:10 remaining in half. Nick Young and Durant would hit three-pointers as Golden State would trail by only one point after the first quarter of play, 30-29.

Warriors grab the lead

The Warriors took their first lead of the game in the second quarter on another Nick Young three-pointer, 38-35. A Trevor Ariza three-pointer would tie the game at 41 with 7:36 remaining in half but Kevin Durant would respond with two baskets giving the Warriors a four-point first-half lead which would swell to seven points on back-to-back Steph Curry layups.

A James Harden drive and layup, his first points of the game since his opening quarter flurry, returned the Warrior lead to four with 3:10 remaining in the first-half. Two Harden free throws followed by a brilliant assist to Clint Capela on a slam dunk would tie the game at 49 with 1:51 remaining in the half and the game would be tied heading into the locker room 56-56 with a lightning-fast paced 14 points in the final 90 seconds.

Harden, Durant primed for huge nights

Harden finished the first half with 24 points, three rebounds, and two assists, despite missing several minutes attending to injury. Kevin Durant would lead the Warriors with 17 first-half points while Klay Thompson had 12. Durant would open the third quarter with a three-pointer, giving him 20 for the game, while Trevor Ariza would pick up his fifth foul with Andre Iguodala making both free throws giving the Warriors a 65-60 lead with 9:35 remaining in the third quarter.

Harden would make two baskets, giving him 30 points in 22 minutes, but the Warriors would still lead by five after another Kevin Durant basket, 73-68, with 6:50 remaining in the third quarter. The Warrior lead would grow to double-digits, 83-72, on a Kevon Looney dunk with 3:34 remaining in the quarter. Golden State would lead 87-80 heading into the fourth quarter.

Rockets try to keep it close

Houston opened the quarter with a three-pointer, cutting the lead to four but back-to-back three-pointers by Klay Thompson gave the Warriors a 92-85 lead with 8:56 remaining in regulation. Golden State once increased the lead to double digits, 97-85, on easy baskets and a 7-0 run forcing a Houston timeout.

Houston would draw within seven on a furious pace of missed layups, turnovers, and a James Harden three-pointer with under four minutes to play. Klay Thompson’s three-pointer with 3:46 to go made the lead double digits, 106-96, forcing another Houston timeout and the Rockets would draw no closer, finally losing 119-106. Game 2 will be in Houston Wednesday, May 16, at 9:00 PM EST.