Clint Capela, Houston's 24-year-old center, was among the most vocal about the team's desire to get another shot at Golden State this season after the Warriors beat Houston in the conference finals last year. All of these needs had to be met, should Golden State hope to have a chance in Friday's Game 6.
The Portland Trail Blazers are back in the Western Conference finals for the first time in 19 years, winning an entertaining and dramatic Game 7 thriller of the West semifinals against the Denver Nuggets 100-96 on Sunday. They are also the first brothers to play against each other in any round, since Memphis' Marc Gasol and San Antonio's Pau Gasol faced off in the first round in 2017.
Warriors forward Draymond Green said they had to revert to their vintage championship form from before Durant joined them in 2016.
But the second half was a completely different story.
He discovered his scoring touch after the break at the Toyota Centre, especially in the fourth quarter when he poured in 23 points. He was a flawless eight-for-eight from the foul line in the final 30 seconds.
Durant leaves with right calf strain
The team holds a 3-2 series lead and, though without starters Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins , looks it close-out tonight. Curry must re-emerge as the alpha scorer and lead playmaker, running more pick-and-rolls and taking on a heavier shot load.
By Saturday afternoon, Bleacher Report was circulating a video on social media of Curry running into the tunnel following the Warriors' 118-113 win, shouting, "Kick me off the court again, boy". "You kind of expect it". And I just have always felt an incredible attachment.
"The guys were telling me to be aggressive and the floodgates would open at some point". According to Roland, this incident happened much earlier in the series (prior to Game 4) and wasn't as sinister as the initial report suggests.
He shot 6 of 8 from the field, 3 of 5 from 3-point range and went 8 for 8 at the free throw line, all in the fourth quarter. "All of us have got to do a little bit better job". "I'll just play my game".
With the Rockets trailing 107-104 following a driving layup from James Harden, Thompson nailed a 3-pointer with 36.1 seconds remaining to clinch the series for the Warriors. Curry and Thompson have been the best backcourt duo in the league for over half a decade, but Lillard and McCollum haven't been far behind. Fellow star Chris Paul, who signed a four-year, $160 million last summer, wasn't almost as consistent, scoring just 11 points in a Game 5 loss before bouncing back with a playoff-high 27 points on Friday night.
In a losing effort, Chris Paul recorded 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting, with 11 rebounds and six assists.