LOS ANGELES, United States (UPDATED) – The Golden State Warriors showed their championship mettle, roaring back to rout the Houston Rockets, 115-86, and force a decisive Game 7 in the NBA Western Conference finals on Saturday, May 26 (Sunday, May 27 in Manila) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Klay Thompson scored 35 points, Stephen Curry scored 29 and Kevin Durant added 23 as the Warriors rallied from a 17-point first-quarter deficit to knot the best-of-7 series at 3-3 – and keep their bid to reach a 4th straight championship series alive.
“I don’t want to go home,” said Thompson, who made 9 triples. “We worked too hard this season to go home.”
But in the early going it looked like the Warriors season could be coming to an end.
The Rockets, who led the league with 65 regular season wins, ran roughshod over Golden State in the opening quarter as they raced to a 39-22 lead.
Houston’s Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden dominated early, finishing with 32 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds.
But the Warriors defense clamped down on Harden in the second half and the Rockets felt the absence of injured point guard Chris Paul, who suffered a strained right hamstring in the Rockets’ game-five victory.
The @warriors use a 33-16 3rd Q to take an 84-77 lead heading to the 4th!— NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2018
Klay: 26 PTS
Steph: 22 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB
KD: 21 PTS, 6 REB
Harden: 32 PTS, 8 AST, 6 REB#DubNation 84 | #Rockets 77#NBAPlayoffs on @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/IiZSO7iu9E
Trailing 61-51 at halftime, the Warriors opened the 3rd quarter on an 8-0 scoring run.
They took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes when Curry drained a 3-pointer for a 62-61 Golden State lead and soon the rout was on.
The Warriors outscored the Rockets 64-25 in the second half, limiting Harden to 10 points after the break.
Eric Gordon, starting in place of Paul, scored just 3 of his 19 points after the interval.
“When your back’s against the wall, it shows what you’re made of,” Thompson said.
Game 7 will be on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) in Houston, and Thompson said the Warriors will be ready.
“Effort, intensity, passion, those three things and playing smart,” he said of what it will take to beat the Rockets on their home floor. “(If) we take the same focus and execute the game plan like we should I have all the confidence in the world in this team.”
The winner of the series will face either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
Their Eastern Conference final is also tied at 3 games apiece. – Rappler.com
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