I can barely see - Harden struggles with eye injury in Rockets defeat

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James Harden hopes his eye injury improves ahead of Game 3 as the Houston Rockets aim to haul themselves back into contention against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA playoffs.

The league's reigning MVP sustained the problem during the Rockets' 115-109 defeat at Oracle Arena as the double defending champions took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Harden still managed 29 points, along with seven rebounds and four assists, but was clearly operating below his influential best as the Warriors took control of the best-of-seven series, which moves to Houston on Saturday.

"I can barely see, but I tried to go out there and do what I can to help my team-mates," Harden told a news conference.

"I don't know, it's pretty blurry right now so hopefully it gets better day by day.

"They put a couple of drops in to help numb it a little bit but all the lights are blurry."

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni, meanwhile, said Harden's ability to return to the court even after such an injury was testament to his fighting qualities.

"He fought through some stuff…the guy looked like he wasn't in great shape the first half, I think it might have cleared up a little bit but he got raked pretty good in the eyes," D'Antoni said.

"But that's him, I didn't have a doubt he was coming back unless it was something catastrophic.

"I'm sure he would have loved to have played better but under the circumstances I thought he played great and we had our chances. Down towards the end we were only three or four down but they made big plays and we just didn't get it done."