Dose: Dubs Return to Western Conference Finals
Warriors 118 – Rockets 113 (Golden State wins series 4-2)
Klay Thompson guided the Warriors to a Game 6 win in Houston on Friday, hitting 10-of-20 shots on his way to 27 points, seven triples, two boards, two dimes, one steal, two swats and four turnovers through 40 minutes of floor time. He was in attack mode from start to finish, and essentially single-handedly kept the Warriors in the game through the first half of action with Stephen Curry going scoreless through the first two quarters. Not only did Klay give the Dubs steady buckets throughout the game, but he also played some phenomenal defense, and he’s a big reason why the Warriors are headed back to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth year in a row.
As for Curry, he struggled for much of the game, missing his first six shots and not getting his first 3-pointer to drop until late in the third quarter. However, he completely turned things around during the final frame of action, scoring a career-high 23 points during the fourth quarter (with 16 of those coming in the final five minutes of the game) and he finished with 33 points (9-of-20 FGs, 11-of-11 FTs), five rebounds, four assists, four 3-pointers and three turnovers in 34 minutes. The Rockets did a really good job of making things difficult for Steph, trapping him whenever he touched the rock, and playing him very physical off the ball – but you can only keep a back-to-back MVP winner down for so long. Unfortunately, he did appear to re-injure the dislocated finger on his left hand, so that will likely continue to be a problem in their next series. [[ad:athena]]
Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala were also fantastic in the win, with Green tallying eight points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and four turnovers in 37 minutes; and Iguodala producing 17 points, five triples, two boards, three dimes, five steals and three turnovers in his 38 minutes of floor time.
So where are we at with Kevin Durant? Well, he strained his calf on Wednesday, and while the Warriors didn’t offer an official timetable, they did say that the MRI revealed a “mild” strain. That would indicate that he’s simply dealing with a Grade 1 calf strain, which typically involves a rough 7-10 day recovery period. The Warriors will kick off Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, so at that point KD will be six days removed from initially suffering the injury. I’d say there’s a decent chance he won’t be available for Game 1, but it seems plausible that he’ll be able to get back to the court shortly after that. In the meantime, all the starters will need to do more and there will be more opportunity for Kevon Looney and Jonas Jerebko with the second unit.
Can’t Get Over the Hump
This was the fourth time in the past five years that the Dubs eliminated the Rockets during the postseason, but this one has to sting a bit worse than all the others, as Houston coughed up a loss on their own home floor despite the Dubs missing their back-to-back Finals MVP.
The Rockets had been undefeated at home throughout the postseason up until Friday’s Game 6 loss, but you couldn’t put any of that blame on James Harden, as he finished with 35 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four steals, six triples and six turnovers in 39 minutes. Harden was a monster through the playoffs with averages of 31.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 4.4 triples, 2.2 steals and 4.6 turnovers per game, but Houston’s lack of depth and a true third option on offense hurt them.
Chris Paul may have had his best game of the playoffs with 27 points (11-of-19 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), 11 rebounds, six assists, three 3-pointers and just two turnovers in 38 minutes, but ultimately, the Rockets still couldn’t get over the (massive) hump (Goliath?) that is Golden State.
Clint Capela never really had a big game during the second-round series as the Dubs really made an effort to take away the alley-oop pass, which took away most of his offense, and he finished the Game 6 loss with 10 points, 10 rebounds, one assist and three turnovers.
The Rockets will have this same core group together next season with little to spare in cap space, but if they can find someone to take on Eric Gordon and the $14 million left on his contract this summer, they could essentially breakup that money into two mid-level deals in order to bring some more depth to the squad. Potential free agent targets for the Rockets this summer could include guys like: J.J. Redick, Marcus Morris, Rudy Gay, Terrence Ross, Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, Reggie Bullock, Jeremy Lamb, etc. If they could bring on a proven scorer to help bolster their second unit, and perhaps convince Ariza to come back, that would help out immensely.