1. Warriors advance past Houston in Game 6
Despite leaving a chance to steal Game 5 on the table, the Houston Rockets were feeling confident heading into Game 6 of their second round matchup with Golden State. Kevin Durant, who was averaging 33.2 points per game against Houston, had strained his right calf in the third quarter of Game 5 and would miss the remainder of the series.
With Game 6 set to take place at the Toyota Center, it presented the Rockets a perfect opportunity to force a Game 7 where anything can happen (including 27 consecutive missed looks from the 3-point line, as they learned firsthand in 2018).
The first half of Game 6 wasn’t enough for one team to pull away as they went into the break tied. In the second half, the Warriors broke away, outscoring the Rockets by 10 in the final frame to eliminate the Houston for the fourth time in five seasons.
It was Stephen Curry who carried the load, but not in the traditional sense. Foul trouble helped foster a goose egg in the first half of play, and it looked as though he’d face a swarm of ridicule no matter the outcome for what was heading toward a lackluster performance.
He didn’t just play well in the second half though; Curry completely made up for missed production with 33 points — including a playoff career-high 23 in the fourth — while shooting 9-of-15 from the field and a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line.
Klay Thompson was instrumental in the thrilling win with 27 points on 7-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc. The often inconsistent Andre Iguodala broke out of his slump to drop 17 points, including five makes from downtown.
The Warriors are one of the greatest teams of all time with Kevin Durant in the fold, but they don’t exactly fall off a cliff in his absence. They’ve won a championship and 73 games without the 10-time All-Star, amassing an impressive record of 28-10 in games he’s failed to suit up in since coming over.
This win symbolized all that makes Golden State elite. Individual greatness? Sure. More importantly, though, is the continued strength the Dubs show in winning the games they’re set up to lose independent of whatever circumstances surround them.