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Warriors roar back to take West, setting up fourth finals against Cavs

29 May, 2018, 09:28 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • EPAThe 33-year-old has made the NBA finals in each of his last eight seasons

"It's the worst thing that could happen to him", Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said of Paul, referring to the emotional hit taken by the All-Star guard to miss out on the game that could have sent him to the finals for the first time.

When the Golden State Warriors lost Game 5 of the Western Conference finals to the Rockets last week to send them to the brink of elimination they vowed to be back in Houston for Game 7. Harden's 32 points in Game 6 were his most in a game this series, but the scoring output came amid another frustrating shooting performance.

A report earlier Monday by ESPN noted Paul was "trying his best" to play.

Without Irving, Cleveland is even less equipped to handle Golden State.

"I'm gonna be pulling for the Cavs", Barkley said after Golden State won the Western Conference Finals to set up a fourth consecutive meeting with LeBron James and Cleveland.

D'Antoni said they made the decision because: "He couldn't explode".

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Neither heart nor Harden nor game contributions from Clint Capela (20 points and nine rebounds), Eric Gordon (23 points) and P.J. Tucker (14 points and 12 rebounds) were quite enough for a team that, in the very frank words of its general manager Daryl Morey, have always been "obsessed" with toppling the Warriors.

"We're not going to be coy with it", D'Antoni said.

With Paul sidelined for the second straight game by a strained right hamstring, the Rockets needed a superhero night from probable MVP James Harden to have a realistic shot at dethroning the defending champions. The Cavs lost to the Warriors in five games past year, and they had Kyrie Irving to ease some of the scoring burden on James.

Houston, along with the Toronto Raptors, sported the NBA's best home record during the regular season at 34-7, while the Warriors had a road record of 29-12. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant both struggled in the first half of Game 7, and they combined to score 61 points in Monday's victory.

After being down by 10 at halftime of Game 6, the Warriors trailed by 11 entering the third quarter on Monday night.

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