The Rockets couldn't overcome the absence of Paul in Game 6, running out of gas in the second half after leading by as many as 17. Klay Thompson led all scorers with 35 points (9-14 3pt FG) along with 6 rebounds and 4 steals for the Warriors, while James Harden recorded 32 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals for the Rockets in the losing effort. The Rockets had a ten point lead going into halftime. Durant finished with 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting, scoring 21 in the second half. Even so, network execs could have reason to wonder if the lack of novelty could erode viewership - though if the conference championship round has taught us anything, it's that the best ratings tonic is often a seven-game series.
Thompson's latest piece of work helped awaken the Warriors from being trapped in an extended state of stun, courtesy of how fierce the Rockets came at them right from the start. If the Warriors play as they should, moving the ball while avoiding turnovers offensively and making the kind of sound defensive plays they made in the final three quarters of Game 6, as opposed to the disaster they were defensively in the first, they should win this game going away. The Rockets were without starting point guard Chris Paul, who is out with a hamstring injury. The Rockets emerge significantly huge heading into Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against Golden State tonight at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Of course, without a Game 7 win, this is all relatively meaningless. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers forced the deciding game with a win Friday night over the Celtics. Based on how the last two games had gone - with Houston coming out on the winning end of two close games - it would have been fair to think that this might be it for the Warriors.
How many more times must Morey tweak the Rockets here in the Harden era before Houston finally strikes gold.
Toll in aftermath of Cyclone Mekunu rises to 6 in Oman
PACA had announced the closure of Salalah International Airport on Friday for 24 hours can be extended, as a result of Mekunu. The airport, which has been closed since Thursday, will reopen early on Sunday, Oman's civil aviation authority said.
The Rockets will surely miss his production if he's not able to play in game seven. He hasn't yet tested the hamstring, according to D'Antoni.
The second half belonged to Golden State.
If the Rockets manage to pull off the upset in front of their home-court crowd, there is hope for a competitive finals series after all, with Paul still rehabbing.
Golden State looked so bad in the first half that Steve Kerr, the back-to-back recipient of the Rudy Tomjanovich Award that honors the most media-friendly National Basketball Association coach, cut short his between-quarters interview with TNT.
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