Articles NBA Playoffs 2019

Playoffs Day 28: Warriors advance to Western Conference Finals

They were without Kevin Durant, Steph Curry was scoreless in the first half and yet the Golden State Warriors still managed to get the win against the Houston Rockets.

Congratulations Golden State, you have just won your third straight title…

Golden State Warriors (4-2) v Houston Rockets (2-4): 118 to 113

For the fourth time in five years, the Houston Rockets have been eliminated from the Playoffs by the Golden State Warriors.

When Kevin Durant went down in Game five, the Rockets should have won that game. This was their chance.

But they didn’t.

Okay fine, but now we head to Game 6.

Rockets are at home and the Warriors are still without Durant (and Boogie Cousins), Houston finally have the edge with a fully healthy team. But they lose… How did this even happen?

Chris Paul had a great game, he started 4-4 and got all the switches in the world so that he could have an easy shot, he finished with 27 points (11-19) with 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Harden had 35 points, 5 assists, 4 steals and 8 rebounds (11-25). PJ Tucker had 15 points off 5-8 shooting with 3 steals. Clint Capella had a double-double, Austin Rivers again provided a spark off the bench. With everyone bar Eric Gordon (4-10  with 9 points) playing well, I ask again how did this happen?

The Rockets shot better from three and were only slightly lower in field goal and free throw percentage, and they also out rebounded and had less turnovers than Golden State. ALSO STEPH CURRY HAD NO POINTS IN THE FIRST HALF!!!! So finally I ask again, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

I think the Rockets simply underestimated the Warriors bench, who seldom get minutes AND the Warriors wanted to win more. The splash brothers and co wanted to prove that they are still an incredible team without KD (maybe an insight into next season).

Kevon Looney played out of his mind (6-8 with 14 points) and a pivotal block on Gerald Green to seal the game. His defence in general was also just fantastic. Andre Iguodala has continued to reverse the clock on both ends (17 points, 5-8 from three and 5 steals). Klay Thompson was sparking again with 7-13 from three and 27 points.  Every time Jonas Jerebko was on the floor, his hustle was obvious even though he didn’t shoot particularly well. The same can be said for Quinn Cook. Shaun Livingston was great with 11 points (4-6).

The Warriors who are normally a five man team, had 10 players play double figure minutes and five players in double digits.

The actual game was close from end to end, which in itself is insane. At half time, both teams were tied even though as I said before: Curry hadn’t scored a single point in that 57-57 first half.

Then in the second half Steph and Klay reminded us why everyone fell in love with Golden State. This was the OG team (minus a salty Harrison Barnes). Steph had 10 points in the third and 23 in the fourth, hitting all 11 free throws and finishing with 33 points.

When it came down to the final two minutes, the splash brothers showed up. All this talk of the brick brothers quickly forgotten as Steph hits a three over PJ to take the lead and then Thompson gets a steal and then a three to seal it.

That play that led to the Thompson three captures the Warriors, Green could have had a contested layup, but instead he sends it to a wide-open Iggy who instead of shooting passes it to Klay and the Warriors win it. This is how they play, this is why they win.

Kudos to Steve Kerr for a phenomenal coaching display and utilising his bench. Well done to the Warriors for wining with only three NOT five super stars and well done to the Splash brothers.

Meanwhile, Houston have to seriously think about the summer. Do they trade Paul or Capella? How do they match the Warriors? Do they just give up on matching the Warriors and wait for KD or Klay to leave (please see Raptors 2018-2019 team)? There are a whole lot of questions but for those answers we will have to wait till July 1.

For now, the Warriors are in their fifth straight Western Conference Final and on route to their fourth title in five years.

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