Put those brooms away, it's not over yet.
For the second time this postseason, the Houston Rockets took a step back from oblivion and managed an impressive 128-115 victory against the Golden State Warriors. They came out hard with a 45-point first quarter and never let go of the lead, staying ahead by as much as 25 points at one point. James Harden led the game with an incredible 45-point performance (7 of 11 from three).
Andrew Bogut went scoreless for the second time this playoffs (both occasions against the Rockets) with only a single shot attempt. He also recorded 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a block, 4 fouls and 3 turnovers in 21 minutes.
The battle of the big men has been intense and unwavering throughout this series. During the third quarter, a pitched battle in the paint between Howard and Bogut went a little further than it should have. Possibly angered by an earlier shove, a frustrated Dwight Howard lashed out at Bogut with an outstretched arm, sending the Golden State big man staggering.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HxARbcBUxA Howard was issued only a flagrant 1 foul, despite the fact that he had swung his arm at Bogut, and established physical contact at the face. Judging from the league's definitions, it could be that the severity of the contact and potential for injury was deemed to be lower than that of the earlier Horford ejection.
Bogut missed his free throw and exited the game in the same quarter, less than two minutes after the incident happened. During a post-game interview, Bogut confirmed that the hit landed on his temple, and that it wasn't the first Howard-issued elbow he faced.
Andrew Bogut said he got hit in the temple: "It’s just the same ones as I’ve been trying to dodge the last 4 games. This one just hit me."
— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 26, 2015
After the game, Howard admitted relief on Bogut not being hurt, and attempted to explain his rash reaction, which could spell repercussions beyond Game 4.
"It wasn't my intention to do anything to hurt anyone... my reaction was to try to get him off me, but I can't react that way." Dwight Howard, via Fast Break
Is it possible that Howard's foul could be upgraded to a flagrant 2 (and Game 5 suspension) after the league's review on this incident? Bogut was skeptical on the potential upgrade, especially if it resulted in a game suspension.
Informed that Dwight would be suspended for Game 5 if flagrant is upgraded, Andrew Bogut said: "I doubt that's going to happen, then."
— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) May 26, 2015
The wry Bogey humour we've come to know and love resurfaced as well. According to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, Bogey promised that he would "try not to head-butt elbows again" - surely a wise decision by any measure.
It's more than likely that we will see Bogut suit up in the upcoming game 5, bruised temple and all. Howard's potential suspension on the other hand, could very well send the Rockets on the way out of the postseason.
Dwight Howard has averaged a double-double this series (13.5 points, 14.0 rebounds). The center leads the league in rebounds per game this playoffs. Despite being covered by one of the league's premier defensive big men in Bogut, the Rockets have focused on using Howard as an offensive go-to option this series, with reasonable success.
This single possibility of suspension, could literally be the straw that breaks Houston's back. Suffice it to say, Superman might have created his own Kryptonite not only for himself, but for his team this time.