The Rockets take great pride in the fact that they’ve limited Golden State to less than 100 points in the last two games and think continuing to play great defense is the only way they’ll advance.
And that’s bad news for the Rockets, who, without Chris Paul in the lineup and boasting a seven-man rotation looked exhausted and incapable of matching the Warriors’ best in the second half.
Paul, a 13-year veteran who had never before advanced to the conference finals, played a major role putting the Rockets in position to have a chance to close out the defending champion Warriors on Saturday night. Houston was up 17 in the first quarter and 10 at the half.
He has totalled 47 points in the last two games – both Houston wins – to allow the Rockets to come back from a 2-1 deficit.
So, that was pretty dang awful, but Golden State completely turned things around in the ensuing three quarters, and especially the second half.
There was hope that some rest would allow Paul to recover in time for Game 6, which is set for 8 p.m. Saturday night, but word is already getting out that he won’t make it.
“Whoever is out, it’s nearly like the next guy up, and everybody finds a way”, Gordon said.
Kerr said he is gutted to see Paul and others, like his own player Andre Iguodala, having to sit out games as big as those being played in the playoffs. He had a high IQ game and added 29 points. “We’ll just continue to take it day to day.”. Having to win two straight games to avoid elimination, including Game 7 in Houston, seems like a daunting task, but the team has outwardly expressed optimism and confidence in their ability to get it done. Durant specifically is averaging just under four assists per contest in the Warriors’ two victories this series, but is averaging only a single dime in Golden State’s three losses. The Rockets’ picked up the slack by offering his view on what’s given his team the balance of power in the series: “I’m just missing shots”. The Houston Rockets are shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc and 78.4 percent from the free throw line.
Kevin Love has been ruled out of Game 7.
The job is not yet done for Thompson and the Warriors, however, as they now head to hostile territory in Houston where they will try to complete the comeback.