Houston Rockets use strong defense to move a win from NBA Finals

28 May, 2018, 19:23 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • D'Antoni shrugs off 27 straight missed threes Rockets have right formula

Eric Gordon sank two free throws with 2.4 seconds left as the Houston Rockets eked out a thrilling 98-94 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA's Western Conference finals.

The Warriors used another of their signature third quarters to take an 84-77 advantage going into the final 12 minutes, then maintained that dominant level this time down the stretch, unlike their last home game at roaring Oracle Arena when they blew it in Game 4 on Tuesday.

One twist, the Warriors attacked the switching more in Game 6 with Curry's ball handling - and when he had the ball the Warriors moved much more crisply off it. Curry has the skills as a point guard to break down the defense and find the open man with his passing, not just drain ridiculous threes. Houston closed the half 6 of 24 from behind the arc with Harden and Paul misfiring on all 10 of their 3-point attempts while shooting 4 of 20 overall prior to the intermission. Houston forced the Warriors to the brink of elimination. They have yet to reach the 300 mark in this series, posting an average of 269.8 for the series, according to NBA.com/stats.

The Warriors might be the favorites - after all, it'll be four All-Stars against one on Monday - but Game 7 is no gimme. LeBron James finished with 27 points, 12 assists, and five rebounds, but the entire team contributed to the smackdown.

Plenty anticipated this series would evolve by the game. "We had a lot of guys in and out".

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"We haven't been in this position before.so it's a chapter we need to figure out and finish the story", Stephen Curry said. "This is the worst situation we've been in since Kevin's been here".

Added D'Antoni: "So we've got what we want, now it's up to us to go get it". But we're winning, and I'm trying to compete on the defensive end and do other things to help my team win.

But the Warriors are in no way in a great place right now. It's hard to stop them, but I just think we have the tools. Tucker, who carved out a place for himself in the National Basketball Association as a gritty, undersized power forward with proficiency from long range, emerged as an essential part of the Rockets' 65-win campaign. While that was certainly part of it, it was more than that. They never did. They wanted to take down the Warriors.

Maybe it's the mental fatigue that comes with a four-year run of dominance. He made just one of two free throws, however, keeping the Warriors within striking distance. But for all the talk of the Rockets' scheme and how it has worked wonders so far, the overlooked truth is that they're simply outworking the Warriors. Gordon recovered the loose ball. That was Clint Olajuwon, err, Capela, as Rockets guard Gerald Green joked he should be renamed.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said Paul is "worried" about his status for the next game. "As I said, the two-way ability of this guy hounding the MVP of the league, most likely, all game, and continuing to rain down 3-pointers, he's awesome".

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