Saturday’s NBA playoffs preview breaks down Game 6 between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, with the defending champs looking to overcome Kevin Durant’s injury absence and close out the series.
11:00 (AEST), Sat 11th May @ Toyota Center, Houston
History: Played 239: Rockets 131 V Warriors 108
Last meeting: May 9, 2019: Warriors 104 d Rockets 99 at Oracle Arena
Final Thoughts: The Houston Rockets need to extend their outstanding home record to send the pulsating Western Conference Semi-finals series against the Golden State Warriors to a Game 7 decider.
The Warriors regained the ascendancy with a 104-99 victory at home in Game 5. The two-time defending champs led by 14 at the first change but the Rockets fought back to level by the end of the fourth quarter.
Golden State closed out a clutch win but the big news is Kevin Durant’s calf strain, which has ruled him out of the rest of the series.
The Warriors had earlier crafted a 2-0 lead with home wins by 104-100 and 115-109. KD top-scored in both games with 35 and 29 points respectively.
But the Rockets struck back with a 126-121 overtime win at Game 3 in Houston. Durant’s 46 points were not enough as James Harden (41 points, 9 reb, 6 ast) led the Rockets home. Harden (38 points, 10 rebounds) was again prominent in a tense 112-108 win in Game 4.
The Rockets have a 6-4 home record against the Warriors in playoffs matches. Meanwhile, the heavyweights’ last eight matches overall have been decided by six points or less.
Houston have won 18 of 19 at Toyota Center since the All Star break.
One question is swirling around this encounter: Can the Warriors win without Durant? He is arguably the NBA’s best player and has been on fire in the playoffs. They desperately need Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to step up and alleviate the match-winning void KD leaves.
The injury bombshell means the Warriors are getting a stack of points at the line, however, and they shape as a strong option with the start.