Photo credit: @warriors
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets continued their epic struggle in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
The series has been extraordinarily close, and neither team has been able to blow out their opponent. The first four games were extremely close as exemplified by the fact that the Warriors had outscored the Rockets by just one point in four games played.
Wednesday’s contest was another heat pounding nail-biter. The Warriors won 104-99, but it was not easy. They had a 14-point lead at the end of the first 24 minutes of play. The Rockets wiped out the lead in the third quarter. The teams entered the final period of the game 72-72.
The Warriors lost Kevin Durant to a calf strain late in the third quarter. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had to figure out a way to stop the hard-charging Rockets. The Rockets took the lead just once in the period, and the Warriors summoned up the will to not let the guys from Houston beat them at Oracle Arena. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala showed everyone that they have the hearts of champions as they prevailed to take a 3-2 advantage. If they beat the Rockets Friday night, they will advance to the Western Conference Finals.
The first half of Game 5 between the Rockets and Warriors belonged to Golden State. The Warrior defense was outstanding as they held the Rockets to 43 points in the first half. Steph Curry did not score in the first 12 minutes of play. He connected on a three and a deuce in the second quarter to give the Warriors a 52-37 advantage. Kevin Durant paced the Warriors with 20 points, and Klay Thompson was second with 17. James Harden led the Rockets with 14. The Warriors held Eric Gordon to 4 points, and he was) for 5 from the 3-point range. None of the other Rocket starters were in double figures.
The third quarter belonged to the Rockets as they outscored the Warriors by 14 points to finish the period 72-72. The Rockets put the clamps on the Warrior offense, and they caused the Warriors to turn the ball over six times. Kevin Durant left the game late in the quarter with a leg injury. He went to the locker room and was diagnosed with a right calf strain and did not return to the game.
Curry hit a three to put the Warriors ahead 82-79. The Rockets kept coming back, but the Warriors refused to relinquish the lead. The Warriors took a five-point lead after a technical foul was called on Draymond Green. Green’s answer was a three to give Golden State the lead 94-89. The Rockets kept clawing back, but Klay Thompson came up big with another three to extend the lead to eight 97-89. Curry made two free throws and Klay hit a three with 4.1 seconds left to ice the win. The Warriors prevailed 104-99.
Game Notes and Stats: Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 27 points. He made five threes in 10 tries. Curry, after a slow first half, pumped in 20 in the second half to finish with 25. He made three threes in 11 attempts. Kevin Durant had 22. Andre Iguodala finished the night with 11. Draymond Green had another double-double with eight points, 11 assists and 12 boards.
To no one’s surprise, James Harden led the Rockets with 31. Eric Gordon, who was bottled up in the first half, finished the night with 19. He connected on three threes to keep Houston in the game. Defensive whiz, P.J.Tucker also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Paul and Imam Shumpert each had 11.
The Warriors shot 45.3% from the floor. Their defense held the Rockets to 41,8%.
The Warriors made 13 threes, and the Rockets connected 12 times.
The Warriors outrebounded the Rockets 42-39 and had 12 offensive rebounds. The Rockets had eight.
Game 6 will be played in Houston on Friday. Game time will be at 6 pm.