HOUSTON –- The Warriors will not be sweeping the Houston Rockets.
With Steph Curry unavailable for the second consecutive game, the Warriors spent most of the evening chasing the Rockets and briefly caught up before taking a 97-96 loss Thursday night at Toyota Center.
The Warriors now have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series.
After James Harden drained a jumper with 2.7 seconds remaining, the Warriors called timeout to set up a play, which was wrecked when Draymond Green dribbled the ball of his foot and out of bounds, his seventh turnover.
The Warriors committed 14 turnovers, leading to 20 Houston points, allowing the Rockets to avoid the possibility of a sweep.
Marreese Speights totaled a team-high 22 points, while Klay Thompson finished with 17, Shaun Livingston with 16 and Ian Clark added 11.
The Warriors were outrebounded 52-43 and missed 19 of 25 shots from 3-point distance, with Thompson missing all seven of his attempts from deep.
The Warriors would have been nowhere near the Rockets without Speights and Livingston.
Speights’ line: 22 points (7-of-11 from the field, 3-6 from beyond the arc), four rebounds and a blocked shot. He played 18 minutes and was plus-17 for the game.
Livingston’s line: 16 points (6-of-13 from the field, 4-of-4 from the line), five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He played 30 minutes and was plus-5.
This was in doubt until the final seconds.
After an Ian Clark layup -– off a Livingston steal –- gave the Warriors a 96-95 lead with 10.6 seconds remaining, Harden dribbled up the court, created some space from defender Andre Iguodala and swished a step-back jumper for the winning bucket.
Warriors: G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak) was listed as questionable and declared out 90 minutes before tipoff. F Kevon Looney (R hip soreness) was listed as out. Both were placed on the single-game inactive list.
Rockets: F Sam Dekker (back tightness) was listed as out. He and G Andrew Goudelock (healthy) were placed on the single-game inactive list.
Game 4 is set for Sunday at Toyota Center, tipoff at 12:40 p.m. (PDT).