The 2015 NBA Finals are now set after the Golden State Warriors knocked off the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals Wednesday night with a 104-90 win. The Dubs will now face the Cleveland Cavaliers in what will be the franchise’s first Finals berth in 40 years. Rick Barry, eat your heart out.
Overall, it was a game marked by sloppy play by both teams, who each had 15 turnovers going into the final period. The Rockets and Warriors finished with 20 and 18, respectively, and both teams were also shooting below 40 percent from the field going into the fourth quarter. Houston ended up shooting 35.1 percent for the game, while Golden State wasn’t much better at 40.1 percent.
Stephen Curry, who took a scary fall in Game 5 two days prior, played heavy minutes and scored 19 points despite struggling from the field. He was just 7-of-21 from the floor, including 3-of-11 from three-point land. Luckily for Curry, he got quite a bit of help from his fellow Splash Brother.
Klay Thompson got hot in the second quarter and led the Warriors to a 52-46 halftime lead, but he picked up his fifth foul early in the third quarter and was largely quiet in the second half, especially after catching a knee to the head from Trevor Ariza. He suffered a right ear laceration that forced him to leave the game and head back to the locker room for further evaluation. He would, however, return to the game.
After falling behind by 11 points to start the third, the Rockets staged a quick comeback and pulled within two but couldn’t quite get over the hump despite a balanced attack from their core and complimentary players. Houston got meaningful minutes from Corey Brewer, Josh Smith, Ariza, and Jason Terry, who all scored in double figures.
But midway through the fourth quarter with the game tight, it was Harrison Barnes who scored nine straight points and led a run that ultimately put it out of reach for the Rockets. He finished with 24 points and seven rebounds and scored 13 points total in the final frame.
It was quite simply a nightmare game for the runner-up to MVP, James Harden, who was responsible for 13 of the Rockets’ 20 turnovers and set an NBA record for most turnovers in a playoff game. He was a horrid 2-of-11 from the floor and scored just two points in the second half.
Dwight Howard got off to an excellent start in the first quarter and was looking like his old self — especially defensively, where he had three first-half blocks and altered plenty more. But he couldn’t sustain his early hot streak and finished just 5-of-13 from the field. He let his frustration get the better of him as he delivered a nasty elbow to Andre Iguodala’s throat in the fourth quarter when the Warriors were starting to pull away for good. Upon review, he wasn’t assessed a flagrant foul, but don’t be surprised if the NBA gives this play another look.
It was disappointing end to the season for Houston, who was hoping for another miracle after their amazing comeback against the Clippers in the Semifinal round. But history was never on their side, as no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.
The Warriors will now face the Cavs in an NBA championship matchup that will feature the current MVP of the league in Curry, and a four-time winner in LeBron James.
The Finals begin Thursday, June 4 at 9PM ET on ABC.