LOS ANGELES, United States – When the Golden State Warriors started to show signs of life, the Houston Rockets just couldn’t find a way to stop them.
The defending NBA champions incredibly turned Game 6 around as the Warriors staged a blistering second-half run that overwhelmed the Rockets, 115-86, and forced a do-or-die Game 7 in the Western Conference finals.
Klay Thompson fired 21 of a game-high 35 points in the second half, highlighted by 9 triples, to help the Warriors stay alive in the best-of-7 series.
“I thought Klay was amazing tonight, not just for 35 points and the 9 threes, but his defense,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “The guy’s a machine.”
The trio of Thompson, Steph Curry (29 points) and Kevin Durant (23 points) outscored the entire Rockets team, 87-86.
The Warriors trailed by 17 points in the first quarter and the deficit was still in double figures, 51-61, at halftime.
Then came one of their trademark 3rd-quarter surges. Golden State opened the second half on an 11-0 scoring run, taking the lead for the first time since the opening minutes when Curry drained a 3-pointer for a 62-61 advantage.
Soon, the rout was on.
“I think the turnovers got them going,” said Houston coach Mike D’Antoni, whose team finished with 21 turnovers. “Then once you get them going and they get out of the box – we didn’t communicate really well two or three times, and then they just got on a roll. You get these guys on a roll, and they can hurt you.”
James Harden paced the Rockets with 32 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds.
A head scratcher
Kerr was at a loss to explain the Warriors’ early defensive lapses.
“We lost people in transition. We didn’t communicate. We gave up wide-open threes,” he said. “It was sort of a head scratcher. I was more worried about the offense coming into the game than the defense. But the defense eventually kicked in, and obviously that led to transition, and the shotmaking in the second half was just amazing.”
The Warriors outscored the Rockets, 64-25, in the second half, limiting Harden to 10 points after the break.
“I think once we settled down defensively and started staying with people and not making mistakes in transition, then we wore them down a little bit,” Kerr said. – Rappler.com