The best team of the regular season of this edition’s NBA, the Golden State Warriors, have managed to retain their momentum as they kicked off the Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets with a win. The Warriors edged past the Rockets 110-106 at home on Tuesday to lead the Western Conference Final Series 1-0.
In a fast paced and keenly contested series opener, hot favorites Warriors had to sprint in the final quarter to register a lead coming from behind against an upbeat Houston. The Rockets won three-in-a-row to eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers in the semifinal series, and gave the Warriors early jitters in the game 1 of the finals to show it won’t be a one-sided affair. The Rockets led by 16 points at a point in the second quarter.
James Harden led the Rockets to tie 97-97 scoring 21 points in the second half. Houston and Harden particularly missed the presence of Dwight Howard, who was ruled out due to an injury. Harden finished off with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists. Golden State didn’t look back after that. Harrison Barnes, who came in from a time-out scored 14 points and drew final blood for the Warriors.
“You can’t give a really good shooting team easy layups and confidence,” said Harden, who shot 11 of 20 from the field. “That’s what we did in the second quarter.”
And the Most Valuable Player of NBA 2014-15 Stephen Curry once more displayed his marvel of shooting from beyond the arc. Curry notched up 6 of 11 three-pointers and scored 7 straight points to lift the Warriors 108-97. He top-scored for the Warriors with 34 points, 6 rebounds and five assists.
“It really stretches people out,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his lineup full of quality shooters.
“Houston does the same thing. It was an interesting chess match, because they like to go small and we like to go small.”
Game 2 is on Thursday night at Oakland.