With Kevin Durant sidelined with an injured right calf. It seemed inevitable that the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors series was going to game seven.
It appeared that way within less than halfway through the first quarter as Stephen Curry picked up two quick fouls and then relegated to the bench. Still the Warriors got contributions from Jonas Jerebko, Shaun Livingston, Quin Cook, Kevon Looney and Alfonso McKinnie.
Which definitely provided a spark as Curry picked up his third foul and headed to the bench scoreless.
Klay Thompson provided much of the offense with 21 first half points. Andre Iguodala also made several key threes at the time as well. For the Rockets James Harden came out strong as well with 19 first half points and Chris Paul was much more aggressive offensively scoring 11.
Still it was Golden State that managed an eight point lead during the first half that got quickly erased. By halftime the score all tied up at 57-57.
The key moment in the third came when Draymond Green picked up a questionable third foul on a textbook definition of a box out. The extra possession resulted in a three by P.J. Tucker and after a turnover on the ensuing possession, James Harden hit a three. A tie game like that became a six point deficit.
Yet, a Looney putback after a wild shot attempt by Curry and a three by Thompson got the Warriors right back in the game. The game remained close until late in the third when Clint Capela got back-to-back dunks for the Rockets. Taking the lead to five to the fourth quarter.
Paul opened the scoring with a fadeaway jumper. Iguodala made his fifth three of the game. Then Curry really began to assert himself on the offensive end of the court. He struggled through the first three quarters going 3-12 from the field with 10 points.
He began to take advantage of how the Rockets were playing him aggressively. Still there was a stretch in the fourth where neither team took advantage of empty possessions until Green found Looney for a layup and a two point lead for the Warriors. Thompson on the defensive end came up with the biggest play of the game forcing a jumpball with Eric Gordon.
He won the tip and Curry nailed a three for the Warriors. A two point lead became five.
A loose ball foul on Iguodala on a rebound attempt gave the Rockets an extra possession led to a three. Green missed a tough layup and as he got back on defense Harden tried to create space by pushing off. He got caught and called for an offensive foul.
The result of the turnover a layup for Curry. Paul then found his way through the Warriors defense for a layup of his own. A three for the Warriors got the lead back to five. A turnover by Harden, a missed three by Thompson and an offensive rebound leading to a layup got the Rockets within three.
Great ball movement by the Warriors gave Thompson another opportunity for a three and he did not miss. The lead now six with 36.1 seconds left. The Rockets season hanging in the balance at this point.
Surprisingly enough the Rockets did not go to Harden or Paul for a three-point attempt instead Gerald Green. Looney came up big by blocking the shot attempt. Leading to Tucker fouling Curry and with the free throws made the lead went to eight.
Series over? No. Harden makes a three. The Warriors to their credit got the ball to Curry who again made both free throws. Tucker then hits a three with 13.1 seconds remaining. Two more free throws get made. Iguodala records his fifth steal of the game and gets fouled, yet misses both free throws.
Austin Rivers gets the Rockets within three with 2.9 seconds remaining. Golden State calls timeout and advances the ball to the front court. The in-bounds gets to Curry who got fouled immediately. He makes both to seal the series win for the Warriors.
For the Rockets, Harden led the way with 35 points, eight rebounds and five assists; Paul added 27 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Tucker went for 15 points.
Leading the way for the Warriors, Curry who scored 33 points and five rebounds, Thompson scored 27 and Iguodala scored 17.
Notes: Curry went 3-12 from the field through the first three quarters with 10 points and in the fourth went 6-8 and 11-11 from the free throw line for 23 points.