Preview of the Western Conference finals? We’ll see. But nobody will complain if the Warriors and Rockets wind up playing to determine which team will play in the NBA Finals.
Despite both teams essentially being locked into their current seeding, they found a way to play a tough, competitive game at Oracle Arena on Friday — a game that was eventually won by the Warriors 107-98. It was the 10th consecutive victory for the Warriors.
The Warriors (62-14) lead the Spurs in the battle for the the No. 1 overall seed in the West by 3.5 games with just six games remaining. So they’ve pretty much wrapped that up. Similarly, the Rockets are all but locked in to the No. 3 spot — too far behind No. 2 San Antonio and too far ahead of No. 4 Utah.
The Warriors found themselves down most of the night until a 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter put them in control 100-92. During that stretch, the Rockets came up empty on nine consecutive possessions and went more than six minutes without a score.
It was another long night for Houston’s James Harden against the Warriors, and he’s likely getting tired of them at this point. Harden finished with just 17 points and went 4-for-18 from the floor, including 2-for-9 from the 3-point line. The Warriors did a nice job of keeping Harden off the foul line, allowing him there for only seven attempts.
In four games against the Warriors this year, Harden went 23-for-74 from the field (31 percent) and 5-for-34 from beyond the arc (14.7 percent). He also committed 26 turnovers in those four games.
It was the defense that keyed this one for Golden State. The Rockets scored just 13 points in the fourth quarter and were outscored 19-6 over the final 9:41 of regulation. The Warriors finished their season-series with the Rockets having won three of four.
Stephen Curry finished with 24 points and Klay Thompson 20, but it was JaVale McGee who really gave the Warriors a boost when they needed it. McGee was a big-time factor on both ends of the floor, putting all the garbage in at the offensive end and defending the rim at the other. McGee had 13 points, four rebounds and five blocks in just 11 minutes. But the Warriors outscored Houston by 10 points with McGee on the floor.