Los Angeles, Tuesday @Peoplesports11
Stephen Curry inspired a second-half fightback as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors booked their fourth consecutive NBA finals appearance with a 101-92 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday.
Curry scored 27 points with Kevin Durant adding 34 as the Warriors advanced to an unprecedented fourth NBA finals meeting in a row against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors’ Western Conference finals game seven victory in Houston handed them a 4-3 series win, and came after the Rockets had led by as many as 15 points in the first half.
The Warriors had looked vulnerable after a sluggish first-half performance that saw them trail 54-43 at half-time.
But just as they have done throughout the playoffs, the Warriors found an extra gear in the third period, with Curry and Durant suddenly finding their range from three-point distance to come roaring back into the contest.
“Basketball is a 48-minute game and no matter how badly we played, how many shots we missed, there’s always time to turn it around. The second half was unbelievable. Happy to be back in the finals,” Curry said.
The Warriors outscored the Rockets by 33-15 in the third quarter, surging into a double-digit lead that they never looked like surrendering.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni meanwhile attempted to put a brave face on a loss which came after his team had battled into a 3-2 lead earlier in the series.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team,” D’Antoni said. “There’s no quit in them. We saw where the bar was this year, but we just couldn’t quite get there. We’ll take our summer off and then we’ll try it again next season.”
Rockets ace James Harden, who finished with 32 points, said his team’s second-half performances in games six and seven had decided the fate of the series.
“One half of basketball. Two games, six and seven. We just didn’t have the same energy that we had in the first half, the pace. It’s extremely frustrating ,” Harden said.
Earlier, it looked as if Houston were ready to snap the Golden State-Cleveland monopoly, shrugging off the injury absence of Chris Paul to make a fast start.
The Rockets swarmed over the vaunted Warriors offense to keep the visitors firmly on the back foot. -AFP