Jermaine O’Neal’s Key Defensive Play Secures Golden State Warriors’ Win Over Houston Rockets

Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night’s game between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets turn from a borderline snooze fest into a big time thriller quite quickly. Both teams entered tonight’s game with very prolific offenses; both are within the top ten in points per game on the season. At first thought, you may think of that as a recipe for some great offense. Instead, defense decided the outcome to this game.

The Rockets entered the game as the hottest team in the NBA. They were riding an eight-game win streak and were coming off an absolute destruction of Dwight Howard’s old team last night, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors came into this game looking to keep the momentum pushing in their favor heading into the second half of the season.

The first half of the game didn’t get off to as explosive a start as one may have anticipated. Early foul trouble to key players Stephen Curry and Howard disrupted the offensive flow of the game for both teams in the first half.

The second half turned into a duel for who was going to go cold first between Curry and James Harden. Harden turned in a 34-point second half in bringing his team within striking distance late. Curry was able to shake off a rocky first half to hit key jumpers late. His clutch layup with around three seconds remaining helped send the game into overtime.

More so, it was Jermaine O’Neal’s ability to turn back the clock to his younger days as one of the league’s premier rim defenders that put the Warriors’ overtime win on ice. Chandler Parsons tried to challenge him on a baseline backdoor cut the basket. Harden fed him the ball, but O’Neal sent Parson’s dunk attempt back down his throat. If it were not for that key play, Houston certainly would have taken the lead.

It’s these type of intense games that occur during the second half of the season that get you excited for playoff basketball coming up in two months. This game at Oracle Arena definitely gave off a playoff vibe.

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