The Houston Rockets came out with a bunch of energy in game 7 but could not sustain it in the 2nd half as the Golden State Warriors took control of the game and moved on to their 4th straight NBA Finals.
The Rockets had a chance to extend their lead in the 2nd quarter but they took some bad 3-pointers and let the Warriors hang around. Clint Capela played his best half in the series, James Harden had 16 points and even Eric Gordon had 14 points. They forced the Warriors into 10 turnovers and Klay Thompson had three fouls. The Warriors were down 11 points at the half.
Golden State owns 3rd quarters and they showed that once again. They outscored Houston 33-15 as Steph Curry knocked down three 3-pointers in the quarter. Houston missed 27 straight 3-pointers which is a playoff record. Trevor Ariza was 0-12 and 0-9 from 3-point range. Harden and Gordon were a combined 4-25 from downtown.
As the Rockets got cold, the Warriors played with better pace, moved the ball and got open looks. Curry was 7-15 and Durant was 5-11 from 3-point range. Overall as a team they were 16-39 for 41% as a team. Houston ran out of gas at the wrong time and were 7-44 from 3-point range which is a playoff record for misses.
Chris Paul was sorely missed for the Rockets because he is the mid-range specialist for this team. He could have changed the pace and got some better shots for everyone. Houston were pressing to throw up a 3-pointer rather than attack the basket. By the time they started it was too little too late.
James Harden will most likely win the MVP award in June which he deserves from his regular season performance. He scored points in games 6 & 7 but he faded in both games. He finished with 32 points in both games which was better than his game 6 performance last season against the Spurs. He was 6-25 from 3-point range in the final two games of his season. He had 14 turnovers and he never had it going in the 2nd half of these games.
Houston was built to beat this Warriors team. Their defense was good enough, their offense was good enough but their execution late in games was not on par with the defending champion Warriors.
Golden State is looking for back-to-back titles as they face off once again with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will be heavy favorites but Andre Iguodala is still day-to-day with a bruised knee and they didn’t play their best basketball against the Rockets. This will be an NBA record fourth straight meeting between the two teams.
After cruising into the NBA Finals last season the Warriors had a real fight on their hands this time around. They came back after being down 3-2 to the best team in the regular season, by dominating 3rd quarters and showing their championship fight.
It’s not the best storyline but on Thursday May 31st we get the Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth consecutive year and for perhaps the last time.