The Golden State Warriors did not need a Game 7 at home.
Golden State’s clutch 118-113 win over the Houston Rockets on the road at Toyota Center saw them advance to the NBA Western Conference finals on Friday.
The Warriors, who entered the game as heavy underdogs in the absence of Kevin Durant, broke the hearts of the Rockets and their fans.
And the game was just the latest testament to the two-time defending NBA champions amazing resiliency even when they are hampered by injuries and other issues.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ big victory.
Warriors’ bench more capable than we thought
Golden State obviously had the most talented starting line-up in basketball this season. But many knocked them for their lack of depth.
The Warriors have had elite talent for a while, but the quality contributions they got from their bench were critical Friday night.
In the absence of Durant, who was ruled out for the series with a calf injury, Golden State posted 33 bench points. Both Kevon Looney (14 points) and Shaun Livingston (11) tallied double-digits in scoring.
The Warriors’ rotation had shrunk in recent weeks, but 11 players were featured in Friday’s close-out game.
Curry is still … well, Curry
The two-time MVP’s shooting has been inconsistent in the second round, and Game 6 was no exception.
Stephen Curry had been dealing with a dislocated finger for several games and was held scoreless in the first half. But he heated up to finish with a team-high 33 points and sank clutch free throws to seal the deal for his team.
Golden State’s leader has continued to pull through for his team in the postseason, and now the Warriors will go to their fifth consecutive Western Conference finals.
Charity stripe helped do Rockets in
Houston and Golden State had almost identical stats.
Both teams made exactly 42 field goals on the night. The Warriors made one more three-pointer but lost the rebounding battle by five.
The Rockets only lost by five points. James Harden finished with a game-high 35 points, but accounted for all five of Houston’s missed free throws. Houston did not have much room for mistakes, and one of their failures to capitalise on one of their strengths might have caused them to fall short.
The Warriors will get to rest for now and prepare to face the Portland Trail Blazers or Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.