Warriors hardly surprised as floodgates open for Curry
LOS ANGELES, USA – Stephen Curry turned from a non-factor to a game hero, but the Golden State Warriors were hardly surprised.
After a scoreless first half, Curry pumped in all 33 of his points in the final two quarters as the Warriors shook off the absence of Kevin Durant to beat the Houston Rockets, 118-113, and advance to the NBA Western Conference finals.
“It did not surprise me one bit,” Klay Thompson – who also kept the Warriors in the thick of the fight early – said of Curry.
“He’s our leader and we know his composure is unbelievable.”
The two-time defending champions punched their ticket to the NBA's final four for the fifth consecutive season and eliminated the Rockets from the postseason for the fourth time in 5 years.
"We knew at some point we would have a chance to steal this game and we did," said Curry, who played with a dislocated finger on his left hand.
Curry discovered his scoring touch after the break – especially in the 4th quarter where he poured in 23 points.
"He was a complete non-factor... then completely took over the game on a night where everything was going wrong. He found a way to turn it around,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry.
Pouring in posititvity
Scoreless on a 0-of-five shooting in the first half, Curry sank a pair of clutch three-pointers down the stretch of the 4th. He was a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line in the final 30 seconds.
"I just had to stay out of foul trouble," Curry said. "The guys were telling me to be aggressive and that the floodgates would open at some point. In the 4th quarter it was amazing.
"I was telling myself that if I could get on the court and play consistent minutes, I could do something.
"A night like tonight doesn't happen without belief in myself and the people around me pouring in positivity."
With the Rockets trailing 107-104, Thompson drained a three-point dagger with 36 seconds remaining to help the Warriors clinch the series.
"It is like he is playing in the park shooting on a chain-link net," said Curry of Thompson. "We don't win this game tonight without everybody on the court, especially Klay."
The Warriors clinched the series in 6 games by reverting to their championship form pre-Durant, who was injured in Game 5.
Thompson added 27 points on 7-of-13 three-point shooting, and the Golden State bench contributed 33 points, with Kevon Looney (14 points) and Shaun Livingston (11) both scoring in double figures.
Warriors forward Draymond Green said they had to revert to their vintage championship form from before Durant joined them in 2016.
"There were some times it felt like that -- a lot of movement just trying to push the tempo," Green said. "With Kevin, you can kind of be lazy knowing you can throw the ball to (him) and he'll get that bucket. It definitely was a little throwback for us, for sure."
Reigning NBA finals MVP Durant suffered a calf strain in the 3rd quarter of Game 5. Golden State is hoping to get him back before the end of the playoffs.
"We miss our guy but we know he is going to be back," said Curry of Durant. "This whole playoff run he has been the best player in the league and has carried us so the least we could do is have his back tonight and move on to the next round."
Durant's status is uncertain for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday in Oakland, California, against either the Portland Trail Blazers or the Denver Nuggets. – With a report from Agence France-Presse