Four games into the Western Conference Semifinals between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets and with both teams winning on their home floor, do we truly know whether the series has started yet?
What we do know is that there will be a Game 5 in two days back in Oakland with one team looking to put the other on the brink of elimination.
James Harden led the way for the Rockets in Game 4 with a game-high 38 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Eric Gordon added 20 points and Chris Paul finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the win.
Kevin Durant posted 34 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Stephen Curry added 30 points in the loss.
Here are four takeaways from Houston's 112-108 win over the Warriors:
PJ Tucker had yet to make a serious impact on the offensive end in this series and no one really blamed him as he's tasked with guarding arguably the best player in the league at the moment in Durant.
But if the Rockets are going to go to a smaller lineup with Tucker essentially playing the centre position, he would have to play big - no pun intended.
In Game 4, Tucker did just that by pulling down 10 rebounds (five on the offensive glass) and pouring in 17 points. Tucker was also a plus-11 and shot the ball efficiently from three at 50%.
Tucker giving it everything! 💯 pic.twitter.com/oxvEJ7Pj0B- Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 7, 2019
It's clear at this point that Mike D'Antoni is committed to the small ball lineup that gave him so much success in the Rockets-Warriors Conference Finals series last year. If Tucker can play at the level he was at in Game 4, the Rockets will have the secondary/tertiary scoring and toughness they need to pull off the upset.
Harden was standing at the line with a chance to make it a two-possession game with 11.5 seconds to go. The reigning MVP made the first throw but missed the second one, leaving the door open for the Warriors to tie with a three.
On the ensuing possession, Durant got a wide open look to tie the game and missed the shot - then Curry got his own shot at tying the game but that didn't fall.
The Warriors finished the game shooting 24.2% from three - they went 2-for-11 in the fourth quarter.
The Rockets shot 70.8% from the free throw line - 50% in the fourth period.
Both teams had chances to either close the game out or tie the game, so they'll both be looking back at lost opportunities.
Is Steph back?
In the final five minutes of the game, Curry went 3-for-5 from the field, scoring eight points.
Prior to that, he was 9-for-20 and looked as though he was struggling to find any sort of rhythm.
STEPH!! pic.twitter.com/ZvxGNyA359- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 7, 2019
Would the Warriors have loved Steph to make the late 3-pointer to tie? Of course! However, seeing him get a little bit of mojo back to close the game may go a long way in the end.
Curry finished with 30 points in 43 minutes. He's due for a signature Curry performance and it could very well happen in Game 5 back in Oakland.
Back against the wall?
This is the fourth time that the Warriors have been tied or down after four games of a series in the Steve Kerr era.
The previous four times? They, of course, won those series and went on to make the Finals.
*via ESPN Stats
This same Rockets team had the Warriors with their backs against the wall last year when they won Game 5 and were heading back to Oracle with a 3-2 series lead.
There should be no panic if you're a Golden State fan. If any team can turn a playoff series around at the snap of a finger, it's the Golden State Warriors.