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Rockets Push Warriors To The Brink With Tight Game 5 Win

98-94 game five win puts Rockets up 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals

May 25, 2018 - 2:45 am

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- The Rockets are a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals after beating the Golden State Warriors in game five of the Western Conference Finals 98-94 Thursday night at Toyota Center. 

The Rockets took a 3-2 series lead despite shooting just 37 percent from the field, 30 percent from the 3-point line with James Harden connecting on just 5-of-21 shots, missing all 11 of his 3-point attempts.

Golden State led by one after three quarters, but the lead changed hands five times in the games final 12 minutes, the last coming when James Harden started a 9-2 Rockets run by answering Klay Thompson's three-pointer with a pair free throws with 7:53 to play. After empty possessions from both teams, Eric Gordon sank all three free throws after Kevin Durant fouled him on a 3-point attempt. Durant canned both free throws after he was fouled on the Warriors ensuing possessions as did James Harden the same following another Warriors foul. That led to a Golden State timeout which resulted in James Harden stealing Draymond Green's inbounds pass and going the other way for a dunk to put the Rockets up seven. 

The game stayed in the four to six point range until Gordon fouled Thompson on a 3-point try, and Draymond Green's second chance layup brought the Warriors within one with 102 seconds, but Gordon drained a three to make it a four point game once again, only to see Green get that back and after Chris Paul missed a nine-foot floater which Green rebounded and pushed the ball up the floor, where he found a wide open Quinn Cook from the right wing. He missed the shot, but following Trevor Ariza's rebound, Harden missed his last 3-point attempt of the night. The rebound went out of bounds, and the officials rewarded the Rockets with possessions, but after a review, Golden State was given the ball down one with 22.4 seconds left.

This time it was Stephen Curry who tried to make a play. He got a step on Harden and drove to the rim, but P.J. Tucker came over to slow him down. Curry tried to bank a shot home, but missed and Ariza ran down the rebound and was fouled with 10 seconds left. He made the first free throw, but missed the second and Green couldn't control the rebound cleanly. When he did, Golden State called timeout. Problem for the Warriors though, was that Green was ruled to have taken a dribble, so they could not advance the ball. That meant with 6.7 second left, the Warriors had to go the length of the floor. 

Curry received the inbounds pass and sprinted up the floor. He passed it ahead to Green, but he fumbled the pass away. Gordon came up with it and was fouled, sinking both free throws to put the game away.

Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points off the bench, 10 of those came in the fourth quarter.

Paul missed all seven of his shots in the first half, scoring just two points, but he gave the Rockets 18 points after halftime, though he left the game with 22.4 second left due to a strained right hamstring.

Durant led Golden State with 29 points.

Despite shooting 33 percent Houston led 23-17 after a quarter, and they scored the first five points of the second quarter, but shot less than 29 percent with five turnovers the rest of the half, allowing the Warriors to comeback at tie the game at 45 after two quarters.

Durant led all scorers with 18 points, while Curry scored 11. Harden led Houston with nine points, but needed 13 shots to get it. 

The Rockets will look to close out the series and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995 Saturday night when the series returns to Oracle Arena in Oakland.