Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets

Game 6 preview: James Harden, Rockets look to advance to NBA Finals without Chris Paul

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James Harden is guarded by Stephen Curry (Getty Images)

No. 1 Rockets vs. No. 2 Warriors - Houston leads 3-2

Houston earned a big win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead over the Warriors but lost star guard Chris Paul in the process. The Rockets now travel to Oracle Arena just one win away from their first NBA Finals appearance since 1995.

Paul, who has been ruled out for Game 6, suffered a hamstring injury late in the fourth quarter of Game 5 after putting together a masterful second half. The 13-year veteran scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half while connecting on four of six 3-point attempts. As Paul sits, a number of Rockets will be looked upon to step up.

Reserve guard Eric Gordon led the way for Houston in Game 5, scoring 24 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field. Gordon, who started in place of Paul a number of times this season, will start in Game 6.

In 30 regular season games as a starter, Gordon posted averages of 21.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists - a similar output is needed in order to make up for Paul's absence. Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni will likely re-insert Luc Mbah a Moute and Ryan Anderson into the rotation, as Gordon was one of just two reserves that saw action in Game 5.

The biggest key to a Rockets win is the play of MVP finalist James Harden. In the past two wins, Harden has found ways to score despite missing his last 20 3-point attempts. Harden can lead Houston to the NBA Finals with a legendary performance, something he has proven to be more than capable of doing.

For Golden State, the Game 5 loss was a result of turnovers, poor execution and late-game mishaps. The defending champions are in unfamiliar territory, as they face elimination for the first time since acquiring All-NBA forward Kevin Durant.

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As a team, the Warriors committed 18 turnovers - All-Stars Draymond Green (six), Klay Thompson (four) and Steph Curry (three) committed 13 of them. The trio of stars must clean up their play in Game 6 to extend the series.

The absence of Andre Iguodala, who has missed Games 4 and 5 with a leg injury, has proven to be costly on a number of levels. Without the forward, Golden State is unable to start its "Hamptons Five" lineup; Steve Kerr has inserted Kevon Looney in Iguodala's place. The Warriors' rotation has been impacted negatively, as their bench scored four points on 2-of-8 shooting in the Game 5 loss.

An often underrated playmaker, the 2015 Finals MVP could erase many of the mistakes that are being made on the offensive end. Golden State is 0-3 this season against the Rockets without Iguodala, who is listed as questionable for Game 6.

The play of Durant, another former Finals MVP, is the biggest key to a Warriors win in Game 6. The forward has been uncharacteristically inefficient in Golden State's last two losses, averaging 28 points on 36.9 percent shooting from the field. Expect Durant to bounce back from his off nights to do his part in helping the Warriors extend this series.

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