James Harden felt the Houston Rockets proved they have the mental toughness to dethrone the Golden State Warriors after ending their long unbeaten home record in the NBA playoffs.
Harden scored a game-high 30 points and Chris Paul claimed a 27-point haul as the Rockets levelled the series at 2-2 with a 95-92 victory at Oracle Arena on Tuesday.
The Warriors crushed their rivals 126-85 in game three of the Western Conference finals, but it is all to play for again after the defending champions were consigned to a first home playoff loss since 2016.
"Mental toughness is just as important as physical toughness and I think guys on our team showed that."— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 23, 2018
Hear from Paul & Harden ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/xKOcfihLBn
It looked ominous for the Rockets when the Warriors raced into a 12-0 lead and they trailed by the same margin in the early stages of the final quarter before fighting back to edge it.
Harden insisted the Rockets always believed they were capable of hitting back from a mauling and was glad to see his side practice what they preached in the build-up.
"We've been doing it all year long, that's the main reason we're in this position we're in today," Harden said.
"That third game was just one loss. We all know what that is. We've got the mentality that we're going to win game four. We've talked about it, we've preached and we came out and then stopped.
"They made runs and they were going to especially at home, and we kept fighting, kept fighting, and defensively kept locking in and making big time shots.
"Chris, and Eric [Gordon] and Trevor [Ariza], guys made big-time shots in that fourth quarter. We're a team. We're really good as a team."
Game five will be staged at the Toyota Center on Thursday.