The Warriors didn’t need a Game 7 at home.
Golden State’s clutch 118-113 win in Game 6 at Houston’s Toyota Center Friday clinched the Western Conference semifinals, 4-2. The Warriors, who entered the game as heavy underdogs, broke the hearts of the Rockets and their fans, and the game was just the latest testament to the two-time defending NBA champion’s amazing resliency even when they’re hampered by injuries and other issues.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ big victory.
The Warriors’ bench is more capable than we thought
Golden State obviously had the most talented starting lineup in basketball this season. But many knocked it for its 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 Kevin 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.
Stephen Curry is still … well, Stephen Curry
The two-time MVP’s shooting has been inconsistent in the second round, and Game 6 was no exception.
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.
The charity stripe helped do the 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 3-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 didn’t have much room for mistakes, and one of its failures to capitalize on one of its strengths might have caused it to fall short.
The Warriors will get to rest for now and prepare to face Portland or Denver in the Western Conference finals.