Still best in the West: Warriors beat Rockets in Game 7, set up Part 4 with Cavs

Still best in the West: Warriors beat Rockets in Game 7, set up Part 4 with Cavs


HOUSTON -- A grotesque first half gave way to a gorgeous third quarter, and the transformation delivered the Warriors to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals.

Down by as much as 15, the Warriors roared back for a 101-92 victory over the Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night at Toyota Center

Kevin Durant scored 34 points, Stephen Curry 27, Klay Thompson 19 and Draymond Green 10 as the Warriors overcame an atrocious first quarter against a Houston team without its leader, Chris Paul.

The Rockets, who die or thrive with the 3-point shot, were 1-of-21 (4.8 percent) from deep in the second half and 7-of-44 (15.9 percent) overall.

All four All-Stars came through in one form or another, but Durant recovered from a mediocre first half to play perhaps his best all-around game of the series.

Durant’s line: 34 points (11-of-21 shooting, including 5-of-11 from beyond the arc, 7-of-10 from the line), five rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He played 44 minutes and finished plus-10.

After the Rockets took a 56-43 lead on a layup by James Harden 56 seconds into the second half, the Warriors responded with a 29-7 run, going up 72-63 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 2:11 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors outscored Houston 33-15 in the quarter, taking a 76-69 lead into the fourth. Their second half was in stark contrast to their first, when they committed 10 turnovers and were outrebounded 26-17.

Houston got no closer than six in the fourth.

Warriors: C/F Kevon Looney (L toe soreness) was listed as probable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg bone bruise) was listed as out.

Rockets: G Chris Paul (R hamstring strain) was listed as questionable and downgraded to out prior to tipoff.

The NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers begin Thursday, with Game 1 set for 6 p.m. at Oracle Arena.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Warriors 126, Rockets 85
Game 4 Rockets 95, Warriors 92
Game 5 Rockets 98, Warriors 94
Game 6 Warriors 115, Rockets 86
Game 7 Warriors 101, Rockets 92

Warriors' DeMarcus Cousins 'nervous' but better player now than before


Warriors' DeMarcus Cousins 'nervous' but better player now than before

DeMarcus Cousins' road to recovery has been a long one -- almost a full calendar year for those keeping track at home.

Boogie suffered an Achilles injury last Jan. 26 and despite knowing the healing process wouldn't be an easy one, he's ready to go. With that said, Cousins admitted he was nervous for his Friday return when the team takes on the Clippers in L.A. 

But with all the time he's had to reflect on what he's bringing back to the court, he believes he's a better player now.

"Kind of nervous about it, actually," Cousins told Rachel Nichols in an interview with ESPN. "You know, at the end of the month, it'll basically be a calendar year. So it's been a long time coming, to say the least."

Nichols then asked Boogie about the six-time All-Star's admission to the challenges the year has brought to him. And he compared it to a sort of punishment.

"You know when you were a kid and you get your favorite toy taken away for a certain amount of time? And, you know, once you finally get it back you just feel like you love it even more. So it's kind of one of those feelings. And you know, once it's in my hands, I'll take care of it."

It's certainly relatable. And although you may think Cousins plans on taking a delicate approach to preventing re-injury, that's not the full mentality behind his return.

He spoke to Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins who had a similar injury during his historic career. Wilkins told him to just "attack it." And once Cousins realizes he's healthy, "don't think about it, just go forward."

And forward he will go. And he's determined to come back a better player than he was before.

[RELATED: Steve Kerr sees 'dramatic improvement' in Cousins]

"Well, obviously I won't be the same player," he told Nichols. "I've gotten better. So, you know, a lot of things have changed in my game. You start to tune up other areas of your game: Jump shooting, skill work. I think everything has just increased and gotten better."

We'll see you and your improved self very soon, Boogie. 

DeMarcus Cousins explains what he likes most about Warriors' mentality

DeMarcus Cousins explains what he likes most about Warriors' mentality

You know you have a reputation when you get ejected from the bench of an NBA game, especially when you're inactive and haven't even made your season debut. 

DeMarcus Cousins has a reputation with referees, as do some of his other teammates on the Warriors. This past season, Draymond Green (15) and Kevin Durant (14) were ranked second and third in the NBA in technical fouls. 

The star center has already called the reigning champions the "most hated team in sports." He shocked the NBA world when he signed with the Warriors, but it really shouldn't be a surprise that he's fit right in

"I actually prefer teammates that have emotions," Cousins said in a sit-down interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols. "It means you care, compared to a guy that's kind of just nonchalant and goes about it like it doesn't matter. So I want guys that care.

"I want guys that show they care. And that's something this team does."

Coming off two straight wins where the Warriors combined for 289 points, Green has one message with Cousins set to make his season debut on Friday against the Clippers: "All hell about to break loose." 

Buckle up. Boogie's back and it's going to be a bumpy ride for the rest of the NBA.