Sun, May 12, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Curry fires Warriors to oust Rockets

HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT:After going zero-for-five in the first half, Curry silenced his naysayers with a 33-point second half, 23 of which were sunk in the last quarter

AP, HOUSTON

Golden State Warriors forward Jordan Bell scores over Houston Rockets guard Gerald Green in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series on Friday in Houston.

Photo: AP

After Stephen Curry on Friday bounced back from the first scoreless opening half of his playoff career to score 33 points in the last two quarters, coach Steve Kerr stopped to talk with his star’s parents.

He said he told them: “If that game didn’t personify Steph Curry, I don’t know what does.”

Curry’s huge second half allowed the Golden State Warriors to overcome the absence of Kevin Durant to get a 118-113 win over the Houston Rockets and advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Curry heard the chatter about how he had struggled in this series and admitted that he was “pretty terrible” before halftime.

“A night like tonight doesn’t happen without belief in myself,” Curry said.

Klay Thompson added 27 points to help the two-time defending champions reach the conference finals for a franchise-record fifth straight year and eliminate Houston for the fourth time in five seasons.

“That was an absolute grind,” Kerr said. “We’re thrilled to be moving on and excited to have this one in our rearview mirror.”

James Harden led Houston with 35 points, while Chris Paul added 27.

Harden’s layup got the Rockets within three with less than a minute to go, but Thompson made a three-pointer with 36.1 seconds remaining to extend Golden State’s lead to 110-104.

Gerald Green then missed a three for Houston and the Rockets were forced to foul Curry. He made both shots before Harden’s three got Houston within five at 112-107 with 24 seconds left.

Playing with a dislocated finger on his left hand, Curry made two more free throws before P.J. Tucker hit a three for Houston, but two more free throws by Curry made it 116-110 with 12.3 seconds left and Harden dribbled it off his foot for the last of his six turnovers.

“We’ve let a lot of opportunities slip away... If you don’t take advantage of opportunities you end up on the losing side,” Harden said.

The Rockets failed to score for a big chunk of the fourth quarter and had to watch the Warriors celebrate a series victory on their home court for the second straight season.

Harden was 11 of 25 from the field, going six of 15 from three-point range, and seven of 12 on free throws.

“This one’s going to leave a mark,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “This is not something you just get over. This one hurts. We played our best and they played their best, and we didn’t knock them out. It was like a heavyweight fight. We didn’t land the blows to at least get back to Golden State.”

There were questions entering the game about how the Warriors would weather the loss of Durant and his more than 34 points a game, but they did not seem to miss a beat, getting 21 from Thompson in the first half before Curry closed it in the fourth.

“When you’re missing one of the greatest players to ever play and the best scorer in the world, you can’t collectively make up for what he does,” Thompson said. “But you can step up in his absence and help out the point production.”

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