The Houston Rockets are returning home, much to their chagrin the Golden State Warriors are following them.
Golden State’s 115-86 defeat of the Rockets, who were without Chris Paul, in game 6 sets up the Western Conference Finals for a game 7, the ultimate win-or-go home scenario.
The real Klay Thompson finally showed up and dropped 35 points, including nine three-pointers on 13-of-23 shooting. Stephen Curry scored 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting, while Kevin Durant scored 23, but only shot 6-of-17 from the floor.
James Harden scored 32, but missed 14 of his 24 attempts. Eric Gordon scored 19 on 7-of-12 from the floor. Trevor Ariza missed 12 of his 18 shots to score just 14 points.
The Rockets were locked in at the outset, knocking down seven of their first eleven three-pointers over the course of building a seventeen-point first quarter advantage. James Harden came out looking like he wanted to end the series in Oracle, scoring 15 points and dishing out 4 assists in the opening stanza. Houston would take a 39-22 lead into the second quarter.
Golden State would cut into the Rocket lead in the second, getting as close as five points on the second of a pair of Kevin Durant free throws at the 4:15 mark of the period. James Harden would score the next five Houston points, with a Stephen Curry layup mixed in, that would push the Rocket lead back out to eight at 55-47 with 3:01 to go in the half. Over the remaining time in the half, Houston would stretch their lead back into double figures and head into halftime with a ten-point lead, 61-51.
Golden State has become well-known for their third quarters and Game 6 was no different. In the first 2:36 of the period, the Warriors would turn a 10-point deficit into a 1-point lead on Stephen Curry’s second three-pointer of the quarter. This was followed by 3 lead changes and two ties over the next few minutes before the Rockets would take a 74-70 lead with 5:57 to go in the quarter. Golden State would retake the lead 76-74 on a Klay Thompson three. It was a lead they would not relinquish and the Warriors would end the third with a 84-77 lead.
Golden State would seal the game in the fourth quarter, building a 22-point lead halfway through the period on a pair of Kevin Durant free throws and would go on to won 115-86.
The representative of the Western Conference in the NBA Finals will determined in Houston tomorrow. Tip time is 9:00 PM EST.
Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul’s status for that game is still uncertain. Paul missed game 6 after injuring his hamstring in game 5.