The Golden State Warriors are headed to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year after defeating the Houston Rockets 101-92 in a thrilling Game 7.
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 61 of the Warriors 101 points. Klay Thompson battled foul trouble throughout and finished with 19 points.
Without Chris Paul, James Harden had team-high 32 points and Eric Gordon added 23 points in the loss.
Golden State will host the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals with Game 1 set for Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Here are three takeaways from Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals:
3rd Quarter Warriors
The third quarter has become the "death quarter" for the Warriors. The Rockets couldn't have played better in the first half. They were hitting shots, getting to all the 50/50 balls and James Harden was putting the team on his back but it was all quickly forgotten in the third period.
The Rockets were up by 11 points at the half, by the end of the third they were down by seven and ended up losing the game by nine.
It was the largest halftime deficit overcome by a road team in a Game 7 in NBA history. No team has ever won multiple elimination games in the same series when trailing by at least 10 points at halftime. The Warriors did that in both Games 6 and 7.
Warriors' cumulative postseason plus-minus, by quarter...- John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) May 29, 2018
Whether it was fatigue or lack of concentration coming out of the lockeroom, the Rockets will look back on this season and wonder what would have been if they were able to just match the Warriors third quarter output.
The Warriors were clearly tight in the first half. Klay Thompson picked up 3 quick fouls early and Kevin Durant looked like he was pressing in another Game 7, but Steph Curry came alive in the third quarter and totally turned the game around.
Curry finished with 27 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. 14 of his 27 came in the third frame shooting 4-for-5 from three. With every made basket the raucous crowd in the Toyota Centre let out a sigh and the confidence in his teammates grew. Thompson got going and so did Durant.
Steph Curry: 7-of-15 from three- Rohan Nadkarni (@RohanNadkarni) May 29, 2018
Rockets: 7-of-44 from three
Curry's shooting outburst injected the Warriors with the energy they desperately needed to advance to another Finals.
No Chris Paul, no closer
James Harden and Eric Gordon did all they could in both Game 6 and 7 to get the Rockets in position to win but without Chris Paul, they missed a closer to bring them home. Paul was massive in the critical Game 5 win that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead, but in the two elimination games to follow Houston couldn't enough shots down the stretch.
In Game 6 the Rockets scored just 25 total second-half points. In Game 7 they only managed nine points in the final five minutes of the game.
Chris Paul led the NBA in Real Plus-Minus this season.- Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) May 29, 2018
The Rockets were 53-7 (regular and postseason) in games in which Paul, James Harden and Clint Capela all played. They were 23-16 in all other games.
They were 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals with that trio.
Harden and Gordon ran out of gas without another creator on the floor and even without him, they were just one solid half away from the NBA Finals.