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

Why Andre Iguodala thinks Steph Curry shouldn't play again this season

Why Andre Iguodala thinks Steph Curry shouldn't play again this season

The plan is for the Warriors to provide an update on Steph Curry's status at some point in early February.

And the expectation is that the two-time NBA MVP will return to game action at some point this season.

Does Andre Iguodala think Curry should return to the court? When answering that question Friday morning on ESPN's "First Take," the 2015 NBA Finals MVP began with a joke.

"Selfish reasons -- no. He hurt the left hand, you can't play golf with the left hand if it's hurt."

Iguodala then provided what we think is his actual opinion on the matter.

"I think he needs to get a real break, in terms of being able to relax," the soon-to-be 36-year-old explained. "That long run -- mental reasons.

"I think it's good for him mentally to be able to step away, be able to get a nice breather. He's gonna come back on a wrath next year."

Going to five straight NBA Finals definitely took a toll on Curry, his teammates and the entire franchise. This "gap year" truly could end up being a good thing in the long run.

But the three-time NBA champion is dying to get back on the court, and it would be pretty surprising if he remains sidelined until next season -- despite the fact the Dubs have the worst record in the NBA and their draft lottery odds are at stake.

[RELATED: Steph shares his favorite Stack Jack story: 'I was crying']

As for Iguodala's status -- he is still waiting on the Memphis Grizzlies to strike a trade before the Feb. 6 deadline. If no deal comes to fruition, you can assume the two sides would agree on a buyout and Iguodala would be free to sign with any team other than Golden State.

But don't worry Warriors fans -- a reunion seems inevitable this summer.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Why Warriors' Draymond Green isn't worried about technical foul count

Why Warriors' Draymond Green isn't worried about technical foul count

SAN FRANCISCO -- Draymond Green has toed the line against the league's automatic suspension for technical fouls many times in his career. But even with Green four such fouls away from a suspension, the Warriors forward isn't worried about missing any games. 
"I really don't care," he said Friday morning. "It is what it is."

As of Friday morning, Green has 12 technical fouls this season. If he is assessed 16 by the end of the year, he will trigger an automatic suspension and a $5,000 fine.

His latest tech came in the third quarter of Wednesday's loss to the Utah Jazz when he bounced the ball twice following a layup by Utah center Rudy Gobert, one of which skied high atop the basket close to the visitor's bench. On Friday, Green said he disagreed with the referee's call. 

"I got a tech the other day for bouncing the ball," Green said. "I ain't even slam the ball. I dribbled the ball, dribbled it again and let it go and I got a tech. Ain't my fault the ball had too much air in it." 

[RELATED: Draymond won't root for 49ers in Super Bow LIV]

Throughout his career, Green has been among the league leaders in technical fouls, barely avoiding receiving an automatic suspension. For the last two seasons, he's finished with 15 technicals, prompting a question from Green on Friday afternoon. 

"Have I ever got suspended for technical fouls?" he asked. "It probably won't happen again ... You just know what you're facing and you make adjustments."