Warriors back in NBA Finals again

The Associated Press
Kristie Rieken

HOUSTON–Stephen Curry and Golden State turned all those Houston bricks into a road back to the NBA Finals.
Needing not only all their firepower but also 27-straight misses by the Rockets during an epic cold streak from three-point range, the Warriors rallied to keep alive their hopes for a repeat.
Kevin Durant scored 34 points, and Curry sparked another third-quarter turnaround, as the Warriors earned a fourth-straight trip to the NBA Finals by beating the Rockets 101-92 in Game 7 of the Western Conference final last night.
The defending champions trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half after falling behind 17 in Game 6.
“We know we can make an 11-point lead evaporate with two minutes of good basketball,” Klay Thompson said.
Curry, who finished with 27 points, scored 14 of Golden State’s 33 points in the third quarter as Houston’s shooting didn’t just go cold, it froze.
The Rockets missed all 14 three-point attempts in that quarter as part of a 1-for-21 second half from long range.
Curry said someone asked him after the victory if it’s still special to get to the finals when it’s the fourth time in a row.
“Yes because it’s really hard,” he replied.
The Warriors will host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 on Thursday night in the fourth-straight matchup between the teams.
James Harden had 32 points as the top-seeded Rockets’ bid to return to the Finals for the first time since 1995 fell short without Chris Paul, who was nursing a hamstring injury.
“We just didn’t have that extra juice that we needed,” Harden said.
The Rockets fell apart in the second half again after doing so in Game 6.
The Warriors outscored Houston 122-63 in the second half of the final two games.
“It’s amazing how long the NBA game is,” said Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr.
“Forty-eight minutes, it lasts a long time and there’s so many opportunities to get yourself going as a team,” he noted.
“And with our team, there’s just so much firepower that at some point, we’re going to get going.”
The Rockets finished 7-of-44 on three-pointers, with Trevor Ariza missing all nine of his attempts, Eric Gordon going 2-for-12, and Harden making just 2-of-13.
Houston was behind by 13 after a “three” by Curry and had missed 27-straight three-pointers when P.J. Tucker hit one from the corner to cut the lead to 89-79 midway through the quarter.
It was their first three-pointer since one by Gordon with about six-and-a-half minutes left in the second quarter that put the Rockets up 42-28 during a woeful Warriors’ start.
“We were lucky to escape out of here,” Kerr said.
Tucker’s “three” was the first of seven-straight points for Houston which cut the lead to 89-83.
But Durant scored six points in a 9-2 spurt after that which left the Warriors up 97-85 with about three minutes to go.
Houston finally found a little offence after that, using a 7-2 run to cut it to 99-92, but their rally bid came up short.