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Warriors reach 4th straight NBA Finals with win over Houston

HOUSTON (AP) Stephen Curry and Golden State turned all those Houston bricks into a road back to the NBA Finals.

Needing not only all their firepower but also 27 straight misses by the Rockets during an epic cold streak from 3-point range, the Warriors rallied to keep alive their hopes for a repeat.

Kevin Durant scored 34 points, Curry sparked another third-quarter turnaround, and the Warriors earned a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals by beating the Rockets 101-92 in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals on Monday night.

The defending champions trailed by as many as 15 in the first half after falling behind 17 in Game 6.

''We know we can make an 11-point lead evaporate with two minutes of good basketball,'' Klay Thompson said.

Curry, who finished with 27 points, scored 14 of Golden State's 33 points in the third quarter as Houston's shooting didn't just go cold, it froze. The Rockets missed all 14 3-point attempts in that quarter as part of a 1-for-21 second half from long range.

Curry said someone asked him after the victory if it's still special to get to the finals when it's the fourth time in a row.

''Yes,'' he said, ''because it's really hard.''

The Warriors will host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 on Thursday night in the fourth straight matchup between the teams.

James Harden had 32 points as the top-seeded Rockets' bid to return to the finals for the first time since 1995 fell short without Chris Paul, who was nursing a hamstring injury.

''We just didn't have that extra juice that we needed,'' Harden said.

The Rockets fell apart in the second half again after doing so in Game 6. The Warriors outscored Houston 122-63 in the second half of the final two games.

''It's amazing how long the NBA game is,'' Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ''Forty-eight minutes, it lasts a long time and there's so many opportunities to get yourself going as a team. And with our team, there's just so much firepower that at some point, we're going to get going.''

The Rockets finished 7 of 44 on 3-pointers, with Trevor Ariza missing all nine of his attempts, Eric Gordon going 2 for 12 and Harden making just 2 of 13.

Houston was behind by 13 after a 3 by Curry and had missed 27 straight 3-pointers when P.J. Tucker hit one from the corner to cut the lead to 89-79 midway through the quarter.

It was their first 3-pointer since one by Gordon with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter that put the Rockets up 42-28 during a woeful Warriors start.

''We were lucky to escape out of here,'' Kerr said.

Tucker's 3 was the first of seven straight points for Houston which cut the lead to 89-83.

But Durant scored six points in a 9-2 spurt after that which left the Warriors 97-85 with about three minutes to go.

Houston finally found a little offense after that, using a 7-2 run to cut it to 99-92, but their rally bid came up short.

Thompson added 19 for Golden State after scoring 35 in the Game 6 win and the Warriors got a fourth straight start from Kevon Looney with Andre Iguodala sitting out again with a bone bruise on his left leg.

After being down by 10 at halftime of Game 6, the Warriors trailed by 11 entering the third quarter on Monday night. Golden State opened the third quarter with a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 58-53 after a 3-pointer by Nick Young with about eight minutes left in the quarter.

Tucker made one of two free throws and the teams exchanged layups before Golden State scored nine straight points, with two 3s from Curry, to take a 64-61 lead.

Harden made two free throws before Curry scored eight points in a row, highlighted by a 3-pointer which bounced high off the rim before falling back in, to make it 72-63 with just over two minutes left in the quarter.

Golden State scored 33 points in the third quarter for the second straight game while Houston managed just 15 points on Monday night after it scored 16 in the third in Game 6.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Curry went to the locker room with trainers between the first and second quarters, but returned to the bench with about 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter and soon returned to the game. ... Thompson picked up his third foul with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter and sat out most of the period. ... Draymond Green had 10 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.

Rockets: Houston fell to 6-5 all-time in Game 7s and 4-2 at home. ... Capela finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. ... Tucker had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

PUSHING EACH OTHER

Green and Durant were barking at each other several times during the game when things weren't going well for the Warriors.

''I was cussing him out,'' Green said. ''He was cussing me out when I was wrong. I was cussing at him out when he was wrong. But that's what we do. I am the guy who calls him out and he is the guy who calls me out. It's great. You have to have that on your team. To know that you've got guys in your corner means a lot.''

UP NEXT

The Warriors host Game 1 of the finals on Thursday and Game 2 on Sunday.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
K. Durant
35 SF
J. Harden
13 SG
35.4 Min. Per Game 35.4
30.4 Pts. Per Game 30.4
8.8 Ast. Per Game 8.8
5.4 Reb. Per Game 5.4
51.6 Field Goal % 44.9
51.5 Three Point % 44.7
88.4 Free Throw % 85.7
  Bad pass turnover on Trevor Ariza, stolen by Kevin Durant 0:19
+ 1 Kevin Durant made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:25
+ 1 Kevin Durant made 1st of 2 free throws 0:25
  Personal foul on Clint Capela 0:25
  Personal foul on Eric Gordon 0:27
  Defensive rebound by Klay Thompson 0:33
  Trevor Ariza missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:36
  Offensive rebound by Trevor Ariza 0:37
  James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:41
  Defensive rebound by Gerald Green 0:47
  Stephen Curry missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:48
Team Stats
Points 101 92
Field Goals 39-80 (48.8%) 36-90 (40.0%)
3-Pointers 16-39 (41.0%) 7-44 (15.9%)
Free Throws 7-14 (50.0%) 13-22 (59.1%)
Total Rebounds 57 54
Offensive 11 17
Defensive 31 27
Team 15 10
Assists 25 17
Steals 9 13
Blocks 7 3
Turnovers 16 12
Fouls 22 17
Technicals 0 0
27 PTS, 9 REB, 10 AST
32 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST
1234T
away team logo Warriors 4-3 19243325101
home team logo Rockets 3-4 2430152392
Team Stats
away team logo Warriors 4-3 110.4 PPG 45 RPG 26.0 APG
home team logo Rockets 3-4 104.9 PPG 43 RPG 18.8 APG
Key Players
K. Durant SF 26.4 PPG 6.8 RPG 5.4 APG 51.6 FG%
J. Harden SG 30.4 PPG 5.4 RPG 8.8 APG 44.9 FG%
Top Scorers
K. Durant SF 34 PTS 5 REB 5 AST
J. Harden SG 32 PTS 6 REB 6 AST
48.8 FG% 40.0
41.0 3PT FG% 15.9
50.0 FT% 59.1
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Durant 44 34 5 5 1 3 2 3 11/21 5/11 7/10 0 5 51 +10
S. Curry 44 27 9 10 4 1 5 4 10/22 7/15 0/0 0 9 56 +13
K. Thompson 30 19 3 1 2 0 2 4 8/13 3/7 0/2 0 3 24 0
D. Green 44 10 13 5 1 1 5 4 5/13 0/5 0/0 4 9 30 +11
K. Looney 16 4 5 0 0 0 0 1 2/5 0/0 0/2 3 2 9 +1
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Durant 44 34 5 5 1 3 2 3 11/21 5/11 7/10 0 5 51 +10
S. Curry 44 27 9 10 4 1 5 4 10/22 7/15 0/0 0 9 56 +13
K. Thompson 30 19 3 1 2 0 2 4 8/13 3/7 0/2 0 3 24 0
D. Green 44 10 13 5 1 1 5 4 5/13 0/5 0/0 4 9 30 +11
K. Looney 16 4 5 0 0 0 0 1 2/5 0/0 0/2 3 2 9 +1
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
S. Livingston 24 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 2/3 0/0 0/0 1 1 8 -12
N. Young 16 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 1/1 1/1 0/0 0 0 3 +5
P. McCaw 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 -2
Q. Cook 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 +2
J. Bell 15 0 5 3 1 2 2 2 0/2 0/0 0/0 3 2 12 +17
J. McGee - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Jones - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Boucher - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Pachulia - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. West - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Iguodala - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 101 42 25 9 7 16 22 39/80 16/39 7/14 11 31 193 +45
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Harden 42 32 6 6 4 1 5 2 12/29 2/13 6/8 1 5 50 -13
E. Gordon 39 23 3 6 1 1 1 2 9/22 2/12 3/4 0 3 39 -5
C. Capela 37 20 9 0 2 0 1 3 9/10 0/0 2/6 4 5 30 -13
P. Tucker 44 14 12 2 4 0 3 3 5/9 2/5 2/4 8 4 31 -1
T. Ariza 41 0 7 2 2 0 2 4 0/12 0/9 0/0 3 4 11 -15
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Harden 42 32 6 6 4 1 5 2 12/29 2/13 6/8 1 5 50 -13
E. Gordon 39 23 3 6 1 1 1 2 9/22 2/12 3/4 0 3 39 -5
C. Capela 37 20 9 0 2 0 1 3 9/10 0/0 2/6 4 5 30 -13
P. Tucker 44 14 12 2 4 0 3 3 5/9 2/5 2/4 8 4 31 -1
T. Ariza 41 0 7 2 2 0 2 4 0/12 0/9 0/0 3 4 11 -15
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Green 20 3 4 0 0 1 0 0 1/7 1/4 0/0 0 4 8 +10
R. Anderson 8 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 0 1 -12
J. Johnson 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 2 4 +4
L. Mbah a Moute - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Hunter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Onuaku - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Black - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Qi - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Jackson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Nene - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Paul - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 92 44 17 13 3 12 17 36/90 7/44 13/22 17 27 174 -45