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11 May 2018, 05:14 | Melissa Porter
NBA playoffs: The Jazz will be without Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum for Game 5
Curry played his most minutes since missing almost six weeks with a knee injury, finishing with 28 points and helping the Golden State Warriors advance to the Western Conference finals for a fourth straight year by dismantling Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans 113-104 in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
Don't look now, but the Golden State Warriors are favored in their NBAWestern Conference finals showdown with the No. 1 seed Houston Rockets.
The win ended the Warriors' 14-game road winning streak and ensured that the Rockets would close out the season series 2-1. It was when players like Draymond Green and Klay Thompson became elite defenders and Andre Iguodala joined the party that they became an undeniable historically great team, because they could play both sides of the ball.
While the Rockets took a minute Tuesday night to appreciate what they've done so far, they were quick to point out that they're far from finished chasing their goals this season.
Houston is a 2-point favorite in Game 1, which is scheduled for Monday. While the Rockets won by double figures, it was a one point game when the Jazz's star rookie Donovan Mitchell went down with an injury. In Game 5, Golden State shot 48 percent from the field and converted seven of 27 three point attempts. The Warriors ranked in the top-4 in the National Basketball Association in Transition, Pick & Roll Ball Handler, and Isolation scoring efficiency during the regular season.
This season the Golden State Warriors took a slight step backwards as they were mired by minor injuries at times. Their inconsistency hasn't held them back in a significant way to this point in the postseason, but it is something to keep an eye on moving forward.
The Jazz struggled from the 3-point line in the first two periods as Houston turned up the defensive intensity.
Houston lost to the Warriors 4-1 when they last reached the conference finals in 2015.
Durant has not been quite as efficient in his second year with the Warriors due to a dip in his effectiveness in transition, but has otherwise been brilliant in a variety of areas.
The Warriors' dominance was on full display during this stretch as they outscored the Pelicans 36-19 in the quarter, and 12-0 on fast-break points.
Houston Rockets Offense vs.
Is this the year the Houston Rockets end the Warriors reign and make it to their first NBA Finals since 1995? James Harden tried everything in his bag of tricks on Tuesday, but couldn't get untracked. Finally in their third match up, the Warriors were without Iguodala again and the Rockets were without Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green. What was good enough in the regular season may not be in the playoffs. If Curry puts up great scoring numbers, it will be a much easier series for the Warriors. While many will point to a small sample size of 10 games, it's still a concern because there's not a lot of time to turn things around in a seven game series.
Like Houston, Golden State had a similar journey.
Houston won two of three meetings against the Warriors during the regular season but was still installed as an underdog at +155, meaning a $100 bet would win $155 should the Rockets win.
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