Short-handed Warriors close out Rockets in Game 6

Short-handed Warriors close out Rockets in Game 6


Stephen Curry scored all 33 of his points in the second half and the Golden State Warriors overcame Kevin Durant’s absence to finish off Houston in six games, beating the Rockets 118-113 on Friday night to advance to the Western Conference finals.

Klay Thompson added 27 points to help the two-time defending champion Golden State reach the conference finals for the fifth straight year and eliminate Houston for the fourth time in five seasons. The Warriors did it with Durant sidelined by a calf injury sustained in the second half of their Game 5 victory.

James Harden led Houston with 35 points, and Chris Paul added 27.

Harden’s layup got the Rockets within three with less than a minute to go, but Thompson made a 3-pointer with 36.1 seconds remaining to extend Golden State’s lead to 110-104.

Gerald Green then missed a 3 for Houston and the Rockets were forced to foul Curry. He made both shots before Harden’s 3 got Houston within five at 112-107 with 24 seconds left.

Playing with a dislocated finger on his left hand, Curry made two more free throws before P.J. Tucker hit a 3 for Houston. But two more free throws by Curry made it 116-110 with 12.3 seconds left and Harden dribbled it off his foot for the last of his six turnovers.

The Rockets failed to score for a big chunk of the fourth quarter and had to watch the Warriors celebrate a series victory on their home court for the second straight season after they won the conference finals in Houston last year. Harden was 11 of 25 from the field, going 6 of 15 from 3-point range, and went 7 of 12 on free throws.

Curry struggled early, failing to score in the first half for the first time in 102 career playoff games, and had just 10 points through three. But he got going in the fourth, scoring 23 points.

There were questions entering the game about how the Warriors would weather the loss of Durant — and his more than 34 points a game. But they didn’t seem to miss a beat, getting 21 from Thompson in the first half before Curry closed it in the fourth.

Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) works against Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry during the second half of Game 6. (Christian Smith/The Associated Press)

The Rockets had a five-point lead to start the fourth and it was tied at 95 with about 7 1/2 minutes to go after three points by Golden State’s Shaun Livingston.

Harden and Curry exchanged baskets soon after that before both teams failed to score for the next 2 1/2 minutes. Houston missed five shots in that stretch and the Warriors missed four before Kevon Looney made a layup to put Golden State on top 99-97 with just under four minutes left.

A 3-pointer by Curry gave the Warriors a five-point lead before Harden ended a scoring drought by the Rockets of almost four minutes with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 102-100 with about 2 1/2 remaining.

Harden was called for a charge after that before Curry scored all of Golden State’s points in a 5-2 run that made it 107-102 with 90 seconds left.