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Rockets’ James Harden speaks out on Game 3 OT loss vs Thunder

James Harden, Rockets, Thunder

With a five-point lead under a minute to go in regulation, James Harden and the Houston Rockets looked well on their way to establishing a commanding 3-0 lead in their first round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC, however, crawled their way back and forced overtime. They dominated the extra session to win their first game of the series, 119-107, and salvaged what would have been an impossible hole to climb back from.

Rockets superstar James Harden spoke about the disappointing defeat. The MVP candidate believes they let Game 3 slip away with mental mistakes, especially on the defensive end, per Ben DuBose of USA Today.

“We definitely let one get away, especially in that last minute. I think throughout the course of the game, though, we just made too many mental mistakes and gave them opportunities to score. It’s that simple.

I think defensively throughout the course of the game, we made too many mental mistakes, and personnel driven, which gave them 3s or layups. We have to limit those opportunities. And we will, I think, in Game 4.”

P.J. Tucker’s triple gave them a 5-point cushion with 59.7 seconds left in regulation. However, Chris Paul immediately cut into the Rockets’ lead six seconds later with a layup. Danuel House stepped out of bounds on the succeeding possession, leading to a Steven Adams bucket that got OKC within a point.

Harden made a free throw after getting fouled by Chris Paul. With a two-point lead and the ball, P.J. Tucker turned the ball over on the Rockets’ inbound pass. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down a huge corner triple on the other end to put the Thunder up 1.

Danuel House got fouled on the other end and had another chance to give the Rockets the win. However, he only made one free throw. The game went into overtime, where OKC dominated 15-3.

The Rockets certainly had their chances to close out Oklahoma City in Game 3. However, turnovers in the final minute and poor communication on defense let the Thunder come back and make this a more interesting series.