Rockets inch closer to dethroning Warriors

Rockets inch closer to dethroning Warriors

HOUSTON - Reuters
Rockets inch closer to dethroning Warriors

Eric Gordon sank two free throws with 2.4 seconds left, and the Houston Rockets eked out a 98-94 victory over the visiting Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on May 24 at Toyota Center.

The Rockets will take a 3-2 series lead back to Oakland, Calif., with a chance to close out the defending NBA champions on May 26.

With the Rockets clinging to a two-point lead, Gordon sealed the victory at the foul line. The Warriors had an opportunity to pull even on their previous possession, but Draymond Green lost the basketball attempting a drive to the basket. Gordon recovered the loose ball.

Houston won Game 5 despite James Harden missing all 11 of his 3-point attempts while finishing with 19 points on 5-of-21 shooting. He also committed six turnovers.

The Rockets’ other leader, Chris Paul, was on the bench for the final 22.4 seconds due to a right hamstring injury. Paul scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting in the second half after scoring two points and missing all seven of his field-goal attempts before halftime.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters postgame that Paul is “worried” about his status.

D’Antoni said, “He’ll be evaluated tomorrow. They’ll do whatever they can do. If he’s there (for Game 6), great. If he isn’t, we have enough guys. ... We’ll be all right.”

Gordon tallied a team-high 24 points off the bench. He sank a big basket down the stretch for the second game in a row.

“I remember the last game, I set a screen for CP and he hits me and I’m wide open for a 3, and James, same thing tonight. Penetrates, kind of sag off, and he hits me for a 3,” Gordon said. “It’s more about chemistry and looking for me, and I’ve got to be prepared to knock down the shot.”

Kevin Durant paced the Warriors with 29 points while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 45 points on 16-of-31 shooting.

However, Curry missed a runner off the glass with Golden State trailing by one point down the stretch. Green had 12 points, 15 rebounds and six turnovers.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr said of the late play that resulted in a Green giveaway, “I think Draymond saw an open lane to the basket, but he knew the time was winding down a little bit. I think Draymond probably thought he could get to the rim and dunk it; I’ll have to see the replay.

“I think Klay may have been in the far right corner so we had the floor spread. I thought, without having seen it, Draymond rushed it a little bit. The play was unfolding nicely, it just didn’t turn out obviously.”