The NBA Western Conference Final playoff series is headed to a game 7 on Monday night in Houston. The Warriors were able to force a game 7 by crushing the Rockets, 115-86 in game 6. The defending champs must now win a game 7 on the road if they want to get back to the NBA Finals.
Both teams could be playing game 7 without a key starter. Chris Paul missed game 6 with a hamstring injury and his status is uncertain for game 7. The Warriors have been without former Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala for the last 3 games, and it doesn’t appear he is going to return for a game 7. The decisive game could be an instant classic. The Golden State Warriors are -6 over the Houston Rockets in Western Conference Game 7.
Rockets Need Chris Paul
The absence of Chris Paul was extremely noticeable in game 6, especially in the second half. Paul has been the Rockets best player in the 2nd halves of games this series, and his absence was felt greatly in the game 6 loss. The Rockets were able to just manage 25 second half points, while blowing a 10 point halftime lead.
If Paul is unable to return for game 7, more pressure will be placed on James Harden. Harden scored 32 points in the game 6 loss, but also committed a season high, 9 turnovers. The Warriors made stopping Harden the focal point of their defense, and the probable MVP struggled to take care of the ball. Former 6th man of the year, Eric Gordon, will get the start if Paul is unable to suit up for the Rockets.
Warriors Turn Up the Defense
After giving up a whopping 39 points in the first quarter of game 6, the Warriors turned up the defense to get back into the game. The Warriors were especially great on the defensive end in the second half, holding the Rockets to just 25 points. Golden State used their defense to ignite the offensive attack and quickly erased an early 17 point deficit.
The “Splash Brothers,” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, combined to make 14 three point shots in the game 6 victory. If both Curry and Thompson are making shots for the Warriors, they should be able to win game 7 on the road. Golden State needs to get off to a better start than they did in game 6, but they have more than enough talent to overcome a bad start.
Champs Move On
The Houston Rockets got a horrible break when Chris Paul went down late during their game 5 victory. It appeared that the Rockets were going to be able to knock out the champs, but it won’t be easy without Paul. Houston is capable of making enough three point shots to keep game 7 close, but James Harden has yet to prove that he can make the big shots late in the playoffs.
Golden State knows how to win a game 7, and they will be ready from the jump in Houston. Kevin Durant is still struggling to find his shot in this series, but Curry and Thompson can carry the Warriors, just as they did in game 6. Look for the Warriors to have another great second half to clinch the series victory. Take the Golden State Warriors -6 over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday.