Game 5 was a barnburner between the top two teams in the Western Conference this year, and was the closest game we've had these Conference Finals, both in the East and West. Aside from playing in their home arena again for Game 6, the Warriors may see Houston without Paul, who injured his hamstring in the closing stages of Thursday's game.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr pulled Kevin Durant aside Thursday night, sharing a story of how Phil Jackson pointedly asked Michael Jordan why he wasn't hitting the open man (John Paxson) during a Bulls playoff game. Hamstring injuries sidelined Paul for five games in January 2012, seven games in December 2016 and January 2017, and three games in March this season. Forward Andre Iguodala is also a game-time decision after missing Game 4 with a left lateral leg contusion.
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The Warriors are the toughest team the Rockets will face in the postseason. It mostly started with Paul and Curry going at it while Paul was with the LA Clippers, and Paul ceded the "best point guard alive" title to a player who won multiple MVPs and championships. They deserve all of the credit for that. An official update on his status is expected to come down the wire sometime on Friday.
Durant and Curry are taking more than half of Golden State's shots, as opposed to 41 percent during the regular season. He played an instrumental role in the Game 3 126-85 win by Golden State as he acccounted for 10 points, three assists, three rebounds and three steals. Iguodala and McCaw being out means two wing players with defensive chops to throw at Paul and James Harden aren't available.
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Last year's Western Conference Finals only went four games before eventual champ Golden State headed off to the finals against Cleveland, so a direct comparison is a little bit of a bad pass. But its roster construction left it in a position where, in the right matchup and if the right things broke against them, a team that shouldn't have weaknesses because of its overwhelming top-end talent could have some. Houston and Golden State are locked in a tight one but are still having fun out there.
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