Golden State will need to win away from home if it wants to keep its NBA title defence alive after it overcame a 17-point deficit to beat Houston in game six of the NBA‘s Western Conference finals series.
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry were the stars, combining for seven three- pointers in the third quarter to help Golden State to a 115-86 win.
The teams meet one final time in Houston on Tuesday (NZ time), with the winner advancing to the NBA Finals to face either the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers, who play their Game 7 in Boston on Monday.
Playing without injured point guard Chris Paul, the Rockets shocked the defending champs with an early burst of four consecutive three-pointers to help produce a 39-22 lead after one quarter.
But the Warriors closed the gap to 61-51 at halftime, then passed Houston before the end of the third quarter and pulled away early in the fourth.
“We did a better job moving the ball tonight, for sure,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
“The pace was really fast, and I thought the one positive of Houston getting off to that start that they did was the pace was high.
“Once we settled down and we got the defense in a better position, then we started moving the ball, and the game felt more like a Warriors game.”
Thompson saved 21 of his game-high 35 points for the second half and Curry chipped in with 16 of his 29.
“We like our formula,” Kerr said.
“We like our defense against these guys, and we feel confident that we can carry this through to Game 7 on the road and continue to make things as difficult as possible on Houston without fouling. I thought that was a real key tonight.”
The Warriors haven‘t been in a game seven since the 2016 NBA Finals against Cleveland, a game the Cavaliers won to deny Golden State back-to-back titles.
James Harden had a team-high 32 points for the Rockets, including 15 in the first quarter.
The Rockets shot 11-for-22 on threes in the first half, but then just 4-for-17 the rest of the way.
“Bottom line, we can‘t turn it over, and we need to do a better job,” Houston coach Mike D‘Antoni said.
“But we knew this was hard. They‘re champs. They‘re going to come back fighting, and they did.
“You know, I saw a lot of things. I like where we are.”