Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 112-108 Game 4 loss to Rockets



HOUSTON -- A large fraction of NBA observers expected the Warriors, headed into Texas up two games to none, to win their NBA playoff second-round series against the Rockets in under five. 

Houston did away with any notion of an easy Golden State victory in Game 4, though, beating the back-to-back defending NBA champions 112-108 on Monday night at Toyota Center. 

James Harden led all scorers with 38 points, adding 10 rebounds as the Rockets outhustled, outrebounded and outplayed the Warriors for much of the game.

With the loss, the Warriors will travel back to Oakland on Tuesday morning with the series tied at two, guaranteeing a trip back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night.

Here are the immediate takeaways from Game 4.

Second-quarter blues

The Warriors failed to show up in the second quarter for the second consecutive game, being outscored 36-26 in the frame. Golden State shot just 45 percent in the period, as James Harden scored 13 of his game-high 38 points.

Two nights ago, the Warriors were outscored 33-23 in the second quarter of Game 3 in a game they lost by five.

The Warriors have been prone to mental lapses throughout the season, particularly in important games. If that trend continues, the Warriors could face an early exit.

Ice cold from beyond the arc

Usually, the Warriors' 3-point shooting helps them overcome otherwise subpar performances. On Monday, their lack of 3-point makes was their downfall, as Golden State shot just 8 of 33 from beyond the arc.

Golden State's worst 3-point outputs came from the Splash Brother duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who finished a combined 5 of 20 from 3-point range, including a Curry missed trey that would've tied the score in the final seconds.

It's usually a safe bet that the Warriors will deliver from beyond the arc. With the series shifting back to Oakland, the Warriors will need to find their shot again.

Rebound conundrum continues

On Sunday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr lamented his team's rebounding effort in Game 3. One day later, Golden State failed to heed the message.

Houston outrebounded the champs 50-43, including a game-high 10 from Harden and five offensive rebounds from Rockets forward PJ Tucker. The performance was a carbon copy of the Warriors' effort in Game 3, when they were outrebounded 55-35.

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