NBA Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: Hawks edge Sixers 128-124 in game 1; Clippers advance to next round defeat Mavs in game 7, 126-111

The Atlanta Hawks Trae Young (11) who led in scoring takes a jump shot in the second half of play against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in game 1 on Sun Jun 6, 2021 (AP News photo)

On the NBA Playoffs with J Hawkes:

#1 Joe, the Atlanta Hawks (1-0) are really showing what a powerful successful team they are with a first game victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (0-1) 128-124 on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center.

#2 The Hawks Trae Young is over having pop corn spilled on him in New York during the first round of the playoffs and was spilling baskets against the Sixers leading in team scoring with 35 points which all counted in a four point first game win.

#3 Game two is Tuesday night in Philadelphia the Hawks Young has been leading scorer, Bogdan Bogdanovic was second in scoring with 21 and Kevin Huerter was third in scoring with 15. For the 76ers Joel Embiid top scorer on Sunday with 39 and four 76ers finished in double figures. Joe how do you get a read on game 2?

#4 It wasn’t even close the LA Clippers had offensive control, they had ball possession and the Mavericks certainly were struggling to shut down the Clippers shots.

#5 Joe talk about Leonard Kahwai 28 points and Marcus Morris 23 points and the Clippers heading to the next round of the playoffs.

Join Joe each Sunday for the NBA Playoffs podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Daniel Dullum: Osaka cites depression; Braves Ozuna alledgedly threatens to kill wife; plus more news

Japan’s Naomi Osaka serves the ball to Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open during the first round at Roland Garros Stadium on Sun May 30, 2021 (AP News photo)

1 Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open, citing depression issues and refusal to speak to the media

2 Investigators: Braves’ Marcell Ozuna threatened to kill his wife before his arrest for domestic violence

3 46-year-old Helio Castroneves wins record-tying 4th Indianapolis 500

4 Fan who reached the court during Game 4 of the Washington-Philadelphia NBA playoff game banned from Capital One Arena; Jazz ban three fans for heckling Ja Morant’s family; Knicks ban fan for spitting on Trae Young

5 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Habs force Game 7 with Maple Leafs; Leafs are packing up their bags and heading for the golf course. Habs defeat Leafs to advance to next round after being down 3-1 in the series.

Daniel Dullum does Headline Sports podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Join Daniel Dullum each Tuesday for Headline Sports podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NBA Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: A look at Knicks-Hawks, Sun-Lakers, Nets-Celtics, Clippers-Mavericks

The Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) is fouled trying to make a basket by the New York Knicks forward Taj Gibson (67) on Sun May 30, 2021 in Atlanta in game 4 of the NBA Playoffs (AP News photo)

J Hawkes on the NBA podcast takes a look at today’s playoffs games:

#1 New York Knicks 96 @ Atlanta Hawks 113 game 4 Atlanta leads the series 3-1

#2 Phoenix Suns 100 @ Los Angeles 92 Lakers game 4 series is tied 2-2

#3 Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics game 4

#4 Los Angeles Clippers @ Dallas Mavericks game 4

Joe Hawkes does the NBA podcasts each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Warriors’ season ends lose heartbreaker in overtime to Grizzlies 117-112

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors looks down at the floor as the Warriors were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Western Conference Play In game at Chase Center in San Francisco on Friday May 21, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors (0-2) lost a heartbreaker Friday night to the Memphis Grizzlies (2-0) 117-112. The Warriors lost by three to the Lakers Wednesday night. Had they won the game, they would have been the eighth seed and play the Utah Jazz this Sunday. Could the Warriors rebound?

Did they have enough gas left in the tank to take down the young and hungry Memphis team? The Warriors beat the Grizzlies last Sunday 113-101, and the team was confident they could beat Memphis again. Unfortunately for Golden State, Memphis figured out a way to beat them.

The Grizzlies’ young stars Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks led Memphis to the playoffs. They gave the Warriors all they could handle. Golden State didn’t quit as a late surge in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime.

The Grizzlies got off to a great start. They were leading 24-14 when Steph Curry went on a personal 10-2 run to bring the Warriors within two, 26-24. Jordan Poole hit a three to give the Warriors a short-lived lead 27-26. Memphis regained the lead to finish the first quarter leading 30-29. 

Things did not go well for the Warriors in the second quarter. Memphis started the quarter on a 15-9 run. They increased the lead to 15, 57-42. The Warriors Stephen Curry made a three, and Jordan Poole made a two-point basket to close within ten, 59-49.

The Grizzlies answered with a three to finish the first half leading 62-49. The Grizzlies outscored the Warriors 32-20 in the period. The Warriors continued to have problems handling the ball. They turned the ball over nine times in the first half to give the Grizzlies 13 points. Curry led the Warriors with 17. No other Warrior were in double figures. The Grizzlies’ bench outscored the Warriors bench 25-11. 

The Warriors’ defense came to life in the third quarter. The Warriors held the Grizzlies to 16 points while scoring 24. The Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks hounded Curry all night long. Curry and Andrew Wiggins helped the Warriors fightback to finish the third quarter trailing by five, 78-73.

The fourth quarter would be a nailbiter. Memphis upped the lead to nine 97-88 with less than three minutes left in the game. The Warriors went on a 9-0 run tie the game 97-97. Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and Curry all made key plays on the 9-0 run. Memphis went ahead by two 99-97 with 55 seconds left.

Andrew Wiggins made a bucket to the game 99-99. Memphis had the ball with 33.2 seconds left. The Warriors defense came up with the stop. The Warriors had 9.2 seconds left to make a basket and win the game. They could not score, and the game went into overtime.

Memphis scored the first bucket in OT. Wiggins tied it with a two-pointer to tie the game at 101-101. Curry scored a basket to put the Warriors in the lead 102-101. The Grizzlies’ Grayson Allen connected on two three-point shots to make it 107-103.

Green and Poole made baskets from downtown to give the s the Warriors advantage, 109-107. The Grizzlies’ Xavier Tillman made a three. Ja Morant made two more buckets to put the Grizzlies in the driver’s seat 114-109 with four seconds left. Poole hit a three to cut the lead to two, 114-112. With two seconds left in the game and Memphis had the ball. Desmond Bane scored the final three points of the game. Memphis wins 117-112.

Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors’ season ended Friday night. The Warriors lost key players to injuries. Klay Thompson will return to action next season. He suffered an Achilles tendon injury in November and worked hard to get back into playing shape.

Rookie center James Wiseman suffered a knee injury, Kelly Oubre, Jr wrist, Eric Paschall hip flexor. The Warriors were down to eight players. Curry had an amazing season and is now a candidate for the NBA’s MVP award. Jordan Poole showed that he could be an offensive threat coming off the bench. Poole was sent down to the G-League. He found his game.

Andrew Wiggins played well on both ends of the court this year. Green, a finalist for Defensive Player of the year, excelled as a point guard. He was third in the league with assists, averaging about nine per game. 

Curry led the Warriors with 39 points. He was 13-for-28 from the floor and connected on six threes. Andrew Wiggins had a double-double with 22 points and ten boards. Green did everything he could to help the Warriors effort. He finished the night with a triple-double.

The Warriors usually never lose when Green has a triple-double. It was the second time in his career that the team lost when he achieved his goal. His line was 11 points, 16 rebounds, and ten assists. Poole had 19, Kent Bazemore ten.

As a team, the W’s shot 44.7% from the floor. They made 12 threes.

Ja Morant led Memphis with 35 points. Dillon Brooks had 13, Jarret Jackson 10. The Memphis bench outscored the Warriors bench 40-27. 

The Warriors committed 21 turnovers. Memphis scored 22 points off those turnovers. 

So, the season ends for Golden State. The team played well down the stretch. Curry was amazing. The team may not be going to the playoffs this year, but there is great anticipation for next season when Thompson, Wiseman, Paschall, and Oubre return. They were fun to watch.

Warriors overcome a 17-point deficit to sweep the Trail Blazers

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors downed the Portland Trailblazer 119-117 to sweep the Western Conference Finals. They now advance to the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year. They join the Boston Celtics as they and the Celtics are the only teams to reach the Finals for five seasons in a row.

The Warriors won their fifth game in a row with superstar Kevin Durant on the sidelines. DeMarcus Cousins, who injured a quadriceps muscle in the series against the LA Clippers was not available either. Andre Iguodala hurt his calf in Game Three in Portland and was questionable for Monday’s game. Warriors coach Steve Kerr opted to not play Andre. Kerr made changes in the starting lineup, and they paid off as the W’s won. It was not easy as they had to do it in overtime, but they did it.

The Blazers who had a 17-point lead in game two, and an eighteen-point point in game three, were able to gain a 17-point advantage in game four. The Blazers’ Damian Lillard, who suffered a rib injury and wasn’t at his best in games 2 and 3, was determined to play better and lead his team to a win. Blazers’ head coach, Terry Stotts, shuffled his lineup and inserted seven-foot-one -inch Meyers Leonard in the lineup. Leonard, who was averaging about six points a game, had the game of his life. He scored twenty-five points in the first half and knocked down five threes.

The Warriors, without Andre Iguodala, started forwards Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie. It was the first time that either player ever started an NBA Playoff game. The Warriors were hoping the “next man up” philosophy would work and it did.

The first period was very fast and furious. Both teams raced up and down the court. There were nine lead changes in the first quarter alone. The Warriors finished the period with a slim 36-35 lead. Steph Curry had 12, and Klay Thompson added 10 to pace the Warrior attack. Portland’s Meyers Leonard put 14 on the board, and CJ McCollum had 8, and Lillard added 7.

The Blazers, behind Leonard, McCollum, and Lillard outscored the W’s 34-29 to finish the first half leading 69-65. They led by eleven 66-55 late in the second period. Steph Curry made two three and a deuce to end the half trailing 69-65.

The Blazers knew it was now or never. They knew that they had to put away the Warriors. They knew that the Warriors had come back from significant deficits in game 2 and 3. They knew that if they hoped to win, they had to shut down the W’s offense and, at the same time, find a way to break down the Warriors defense. They held Draymond Green to just two points in the first half. Without Iguodala, could Draymond do it again? He answered the question. Yes, he did it again. The Blazers led 98-78 late in the third quarter. The Warriors scored the last eight points of the quarter to trail by eight 95-87. The Warriors knew that they had work to do in the final period, but an eight-point deficit is not impossible to overcome.

Curry hit a three to start the fourth quarter. Portland hit two-threes to go up by eleven 101-90. The Warriors defense started to throttle the Blazers’ offense. The Warriors went on a 14-3 run to tie the game at 104. Portland’s Rod Hood made a bucket, but Kevon Looney countered with one of his own to tie it at 106. Draymond gave the W’s the lead 108-106. Lillard made a three and Leonard added a bucket to put Portland ahead 111-108. Klay Thompson knocked down a three to tie it, and the game went to overtime.

The Warriors fell behind 115-114. Alfonzo McKinnie made a bucket to give the W’s the lead 116-115. Draymond Green made his only three-pointer of the game to provide the W’s their most significant lead of the night 119-115. Lillard connected on a two-point shot to close the gap to two 119-117. Neither team could relax. With 3.3 seconds left, Portland had the ball. If they made a two-point bucket, they would have tied the game and forced another 5-minute overtime period. If they made a three, they would have won. The Warriors held on, and Portland could not get off a shot. The Warriors win and end the Blazers’ season.

Game Notes and Stats- The Warriors bench players all performed well in Monday night’s win. Jordan Bell had seven, Alfonzo McKinnie was in double figures with 12. Kevon Looney continued his excellent play. He had a double-double with 12 points 14 rebounds. He, again, did a superb job getting offensive rebounds. Klay Thompson had 17, and he was tasked with trying to shut down Portlands CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard. The Warriors had another first as they had two players that had a triple-double. Draymond Green, held to two points in the first half, finished the night with 18 points, 14 boards, and 11 assists. Step Curry had his fifth game in a row with 30 or more points. He tallied 37 and had 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Shay Livingston added 8, coming off the bench.

Meyers Leonard led Portland with 30 points and 12 rebounds. McCollum finished with 26. Damian Lillard had a double-double for Portland with 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 12 assists. Zach Collins was the other Blazer in double figures with 10.

The Warriors outrebounded the Blazers 55-28 The W’s had 15 offensive rebounds. Portland had six. The Warriors had 10 steals and 5 blocks.

The Warriors will now have a few days off as they await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks lead the Series 2-1. Game four will be played in Toronto Tuesday night.

Draymond Green shines as Warriors defeat Trail Blazers 110-99 for 3-0 series lead

Photo credit: @warriors

By: Ana Kieu

The Golden State Warriors walked into the Moda Center to take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Finals Saturday night. The Warriors entered with a 2-0 series lead, which was commanding, but the series wasn’t over yet. The Warriors still had some work to do.

The Warriors’ starting lineup featured Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Damian Jones. Andrew Bogut was initially slated to start, but Damian Jones reportedly got the nod just moments before the tip-off.

The Blazers played beautiful basketball in the first half.

The Blazers’ back court of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum hit back-to-back three-pointers early in the first quarter. Also, Meyers Leonard made the most out of his second career postseason start. Leonard was a last-minute replacement for Enes Kanter in the Blazers’ starting lineup.

Steph Curry hit a couple of threes and Shaun Livingston’s mid-range shooting game was on fire. But the Blazers held a 29-27 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

The Blazers, however, showed the Warriors how basketball should be played in the second quarter. Zach Collins blocked Klay Thompson’s shot for a potential bucket early in the second quarter. Also, Evan Turner made mid-range shots as well as threes from the corner.

Sure, Dub Nation was thrilled to see Draymond Green make a buzzer-beating layup to end the first half. But it was the Blazers who took a 66-53 lead to the locker room at the break.

Meyers Leonard achieved a playoff career-high 16 points in the third quarter. But it was Draymond Green who stole the show by playing with such great energy. Green made some spiffy layups, despite multiple Blazers defenders all around him.

The Warriors finally took a one-point lead 77-76 with 1:54 left in the third quarter. The explosive play of Draymond Green and the slight leadership of Steph Curry and Jordan Bell contributed to the Warriors’ big run. Green had his seventh career playoff triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Blazers gave the Warriors a hard time and Steph Curry made a pass to Jordan Bell for a two, but the buzzer sounded before the shot was made and the Warriors settled for a 82-79 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Blazers were well-aware that they had 12 minutes to get the lead back.

CJ McCollum slid down the court on an arguable right hand grab and received a pair of free throws, but failed to make one or both of them. McCollum later made a two that pulled the Blazers within six 90-84 with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter. Then, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called a timeout for his team to regroup for a little bit.

It was quite a turnaround for the Warriors, who had an 11-point lead 100-89 with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter. Steph Curry stepped up his game, too. Curry’s efforts helped the Warriors to a 110-99 win and a 3-0 series lead.

Check out the Warriors’ final stats below.

Moreover, Draymond Green became the fifth player in NBA history to tally a triple-double (20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals) in three straight NBA Playoffs series in a single postseason.

Game 4 will be Monday night at 6:00 pm on ESPN.

Warriors overcome 17-point deficit, beat Blazers 114-111

Photo credit: @warriors

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors again showed what they have hearts of lions as they clawed their way back from a poor first half to down the Portland Trailblazers 114-111 at Oracle Arena Thursday night.

The Warriors blew out the Blazers in Game 1. Many pundits said that the Warriors will win the series in five, while others thought the Warriors might sweep the Blazers. However, games are played on the court, not on paper. People have to remember that the Blazers are a professional basketball team that finished with the third best record in the Western Conference. They have an outstanding backcourt of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard. The Blazers knew that they had to outplay the Warriors on both ends of the court. They put 65 points on the board in the first half and held the Warriors to 50. They made 11 threes in the first half. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 19, but no other Warrior starter was in double figures.

The first quarter was fairly even as Portland finished with a two-point advantage 31-29. The second quarter belonged to Portland as they outscored the Warriors 34-21 to finish with a 15-point lead 65-50. The Blazers had hoped to steal a game in Oakland and return home to Portland with the series tied at one apiece.

The Warriors had to regroup and figure out what they had to do to slow down Portland and come back to win the game. Portland made the first basket of the second half to increase the lead to 67-50. Steph Curry made a three, and the Blazers hit a two to lead 69-53. At this point, the Warriors went on a 13-0 run to cut the deficit to three 69-66. Portland refused to wilt, and they maintained the lead 75-74. Klay Thompson drained a three and the Warriors had their first lead since the first quarter when they led 8-6. The Warriors offense, paced by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, had help from an unexpected source, Jordan Bell. Bell, who had played sparingly in the playoffs, had his best game of the season. The Warriors were up by five until Portland regrouped and they were able to finish the third quarter tied 89-89. The Warriors won the quarter 39-24, but still had 12 minutes left to play.

In the fourth quarter, the Trail Blazers put the pressure on the Warriors. Portland’s offense came to life, and they had a 108-100 lead with five minutes left to play. Portland’s Seth Curry, Steph Curry’s younger brother, knocked down two threes in the quarter that propelled the Blazers into the lead.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts had his team concentrate on double-teaming Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors had seen teams use this defense before.

Players such as Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney made buckets as time was winding down. Looney made a bucket to bring the Warriors close 108-107. Steph Curry then made a three to put the Warriors up 110-108. Portland hit a three and led 111-110. Looney connected on a lob from Draymond Green, and Green made a bucket to put the Warriors ahead 114-111 with 12.3 seconds left. The Blazers knew they had to make a three to tie the game. They wanted the ball in either Lillard or McCollum’s hands. Lillard had the ball and was making his move when Iguodala slapped the ball out of his hands and stole the ball to secure the 114-111 win for Golden State.

Game Notes and Stats: Steph Curry led the Warriors with 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. He made four threes in 14 tries. Klay Thompson had 24. Draymond had a double-double with 16 points, 10 boards, seven assists and blocked five shots. Jordan Bell had 11, and Kevon Looney knocked down 14 and had seven boards. Jonas Jerebko did not score, but he did have seven rebounds while on the court. Andre Iguodala had four points, five rebounds and five assists.

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 23. He had five rebounds, 10 assists, and he connected on five threes. CJ McCollum had 22 points and three threes. Seth Curry finished with 16 points and made four threes.

Up Next: The Warriors and Trail Blazers meet for Game 3 in Portland Saturday night. Game time will be at 6 pm.

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: How much of a force are the Bucks?; Warriors look to take second game against Blazers; plus more

Photo credit: @BleacherReport

On the Headline Sports podcast with Tony:

#1 The Milwaukee Bucks are truly a force to reckon with. The Bucks opened their series with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night with a game one 108-100 victory in Milwaukee.

#2 The Bucks’ Brook Lopez led the Bucks in scoring with 29 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points. The Bucks have this great punch at the top of the offensive lineups.

#3 Kevin Durant not expected to be back for game two of Golden State’s playoff game against the Portland Trailblazers. We ask Tony if the Warriors will rest Durant for the rest of the series.

#4 Even with Durant out, the Warriors managed to get a 22-point win in game one. The Blazers are predicted to be overmatched in this series.

#5 The Oakland A’s went 1-8 on their last road trip, The A’s are on a nine-game trip this time and have already lost the first two games by just a run in each game. What’s lacking — hitting or pitching not closing the deal in the end of games?

Join Tony for Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Warriors roll over the Trail Blazers 116-94

Photo credit: nba.com/warriors

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors, still without the services of Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, rolled over the Portland Trail Blazers 116-94 Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors finished off the Houston Rockets last Friday night and had a few days to recover from that grueling series. The Blazers, on the other hand, had to play in Denver on Sunday and flew to the Bay Area after the game. They did not practice Monday and did not have shoot-around on Tuesday.

The Warriors were tasked with shutting down Portland’s two backcourt aces, C.J. McCollum, and Damian Lillard. Lillard, an Oakland native, loves to play at Oracle and has averaged 27 points a game against the Warriors. McCollum is also a scorer who is capable of making threes. The Warriors wanted their Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson, and Steph Curry, to get into the flow of the game early so that they could lead the team to the win.

The Warriors and Blazers played a low-scoring first half. The Warriors led 27-23 after the first 12 minutes of action. The finished the first half with a nine-point lead 54-45. Curry made two-threes late in the period to give the Warriors the advantage.

The Blazers won the third quarter 26-23 to cut the lead to six after three quarters of action. The Warriors led by 17, 70-53, but the Blazers’ offense came to life and rallied to end the period trailing by six.

The Warriors used their second unit to start the fourth quarter. Klay Thompson was on the floor with Jonas Jerebko, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, and Kevon Looney. Klay hit two buckets and two threes. Cook knocked down two threes, while Jerebko hit a bucket and was a force on defense. By the time Steph Curry and Draymond Green returned to the floor, the Warriors were in total command and cruised to the 116-94 victory.

Game Notes: Steph Curry led the Warriors with 36 points. He connected on nine threes in 15 attempts. Klay Thompson had 26 points. Draymond Green finished with a double-double. He had 12 points, 10 boards, and five assists. Jonas Jerebko had nine points, Quinn Cook had eight points, and Kevon Looney had six.

Damian Lillard had 19 points for Portland. McCollum and Mo Harkless each had 17 points. Rod Hood, coming off the bench, added 17 points.

The Warriors defense held Portland to 36% from the floor. The Blazers made seven threes in 28 attempts. The Warriors knocked down 17 threes. The Warriors had 13 steals and eight blocks and forced Portland into 21 turnovers.

Up Next: Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Game time will be at 6 pm.

Warriors find a way to eliminate the Rockets in Game 6

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors, playing without two of their stars, DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant, found a way the defeat the Houston Rockets 118-113 Friday night in Houston. Most of the pundits, excluding this writer, picked the Rockets to win Game 6 and force a deciding Game 7 on Mother’s day in Oakland. The “experts” felt that the Warriors could not win with Kevin Durant. Durant was averaging a smidge over 36 points a game and how were the Warriors going to pick up the slack. The Warriors bench had not produced much in the playoffs this year. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr knew that he could not let his starters play all 48 minutes. He needed the bench to come through and did they ever. The Warriors motto is “Strength in Numbers,” and the bench led by Kevon Looney, Shaun Livingstone, Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell, and Jonas Jerebko all contributed to the Warriors victory and they did it in a hostile environment.

The Rockets, for the past year, were hoping to avenge last year’s demise in the Western Conference Finals against the W’s. Their star point guard, Chris Paul, injured his hamstring and did not play in the last two games. Paul was healthy, and they felt they had the advantage as Durant was not able to play for Golden State. What the Rockets didn’t count on was the fact that the Warriors know how to win. They won a championship in 2015 without Kevin Durant. They almost repeated in 2016 and did not have Durant. The W’s won the last two championships with KD, and, hopefully, they will win their third in a row with Durant as a teammate. The Warriors knew they had to find a way to stop the Rockets offense. They had to play strong defense, rebound, make steals, block shots, and not turnover the ball. They did everything right except they were a bit sloppy as they turned the ball over 17 times.

The Warriors and Rockets played a very competitive first half. The Rockets won the first quarter by one-point to lead 28-27. The Warriors offense in the first quarter was driven by Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, and Draymond Green. The Warriors won the second period by a point, and the game was tied at 57 at the of two-quarters of action. Steph Curry did not score a single point in the first half. He committed three fouls and spent a lot of time on the bench. Klay Thompson led the W’s with 21. Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Kevon Looney each had 8. Shaun Livingston had 6. The Rockets’ attack was led by James Harden’s 19. Chris Paul added 11. Hot-shooting Eric Gordon was held to 4. The Warriors knocked  down7 threes while Houston made 8. The Rockets shot 10 more free three than the Warriors to keep them in the game.

The Warriors were hoping to get Steph going in the third quarter. The Rockets planned to double team both Steph and Klay and force the other Warriors to make the shots. The lead changed hands several times in the period. The Rockets increased the lead to six 74-68, but the W’s met the challenge and tied it at 77. The Rockets led by one 83-82 when they went on a 4-0 run to finish the period leading 87-82.

It all came down to the last 12 minutes of play. The Rockets led by five and had the crowd roaring their support. Would it be possible for The W’s to catch the Rockets? Could they put enough points on the board to win? Would Steph Curry lead them to the win? All those questions were answered. The Warriors refused to fold. The Rockets could not put Golden State away. The W’s tied the game at 97 when Steph made a two-point bucket. The took the lead for good when Kevon Looney made a huge bucket. Steph followed with a three, and the Dubs led 102-97. The Rockets’ James Harden hit a three, and it was a two-point contest 102-100. Curry was a one-man wrecking crew at this point. Steph made a duce and a trey and the Warriors were up 110-104 with 36.1 seconds left to play. Kevon Looney blocked a shot, and the ball went Golden State. The Rockets fouled Steph, and he made both free throws. Harden countered with a three. The Rockets kept fouling Steph, and he kept making free throws. The Warriors held off Harden and Paul to win 118-113, and they again ended the Rockets’ season.

Game Notes and stats- The Warriors outscored the Rockets 36-26 in the fourth quarter to overcome the five-point deficit at the end of three. Steph Curry scored 16 points in the final five minutes of the game. He scored 23 points in the fourth quarter and 33 points in the second half.

The Warriors resume play Tuesday night at Oracle Arena when they face the winner of the Denver Nuggets- Portnad Trailblazers series.

Steph led the W’s with 33. He made four threes in 11 tries. Klay had 27, and he made 7 three. Draymond Green had 8 points, 10 boards, and 7 assists. Andre Iguodala played well on offense as well as defense. He had 17 points, and he made five threes. Kevon Looney had 15, Shaun Livingston 11. The rest of the bench added 8. The W’s shot 49.4% from the floor. The had 35 boards and 10 offensive rebounds.

James Harden led the Rockets with 35. Chris Paul 27, P.J.Tucker 15, Clint Capela 10 points and 10 boards, Eric Gordon 9. Austin Rivers also had 9. The key to the win was not letting Eric Gordon, and Austin Rivers knock down threes.

The Warriors again showed the world that they are champions. They refused to fold. They could have, and nobody would have criticized them as they were without two All-Stars. They made the shots when they had to. They played defense in the fourth quarter. They did what they had to do to win.