Golden State Warriors Survive Toughest Test Yet, Advance to NBA Finals
While it seemed as though the Houston Rockets had the game in hand, the Golden State Warriors still hung around and similar to Game 6, the second half was when the reigning NBA Champions took over.
Carrying a double digit lead into halftime, the Houston Rockets came out flat yet again. With their superstar Chris Paul on the bench, hampered by a hamstring injury, the Rockets missed an NBA playoff record 27-consecutive three-pointers, allowing the Warriors to climb back into the game and take a lead that they would be sure to not cough up.
“I saw one of the worst quarters of basketball we’ve ever played and we’re down five points,” a visibly irritated Steve Kerr said in a coaching interview following the first quarter. “So if we can get our act together, we’ll be fine.”
His team would rise to occasion. Led by Stephen Curry who exploded in the third quarter, finishing his night with 27-points, nine boards, and 10-assists, the Warriors advanced to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals with a 101-92 Game 7 victory. Kevin Durant poured in 34 of his own points, while Klay Thompson put up 19-points. Draymond Green chipped in with 10-points and 13-rebounds in the winning effort.
“We did everything well, except they out-shot us,” Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “When they make their little runs, we have to be able to hit threes to keep them at bay, and we couldn’t do that.”
James Harden paced the Houston Rockets, scoring 32-point, albeit on a pedestrian 12/29 shooting night. Eric Gordon filled in for Paul nicely, with 23-points of his own. Still the absence of Paul and the inability to sink shots would cost the Rockets a chance at advancing to the NBA Finals.
The Golden State Warriors are now set to face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season. The NBA Finals begin on June 1.