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But the Rockets, whose system depends so heavily on their ability to make the most of the three-point shot, couldn't find the net from long range.

The Warriors had looked vulnerable after a sluggish first half performance that saw them trail 54-43 at half-time. They have to be exhausted, and that's no way to go into a series against Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who blew Cleveland away in five games previous year.

In the regular season, the Houston Rockets made an NBA-record 1,256 threes on a record 3,470 attempts - that's 15.3 threes per game on 36.2 percent shooting.

Both teams played remarkable defense these last three games.

"Yes", he said, "because it's really hard".

The Warriors will face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth consecutive time in the NBA Finals which begin on Friday. It's that simple. These guys played so well in the playoffs, but in a game for all the marbles, they were awful. Following the game, All-Star guard James Harden had a bit of a cold-shoulder response when asked why Houston couldn't capitalize on the Warriors' playing out of character to start the game.

He did in the second half.

And as much as we want to look at the Golden State Warriors as a team of destiny, they were not.

"We were so scattered, every part of the game plan went out the window in the first 45 seconds, basically", he said. Steph Curry, who finished with 27 points, went 7-of-15 from behind the arc himself - matching the entire Rockets team total. Curry went 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-5 from distance as he logged 11 of the 12 third-quarter minutes.




"A big blow for us", Kerr said.

About midway through the second quarter, Houston had held Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green to 1-of-7, 2-of-6 and 2-of-6 shooting from the field, respectively.

Houston finally found a little offence after that, using a 7-2 run to cut it to 99-92, but their rally bid came up short.

History may note that from the beginning of the season, National Basketball Association fans bemoaned what felt like a near certainty that, in the 223 days between the Cavaliers tipping off the National Basketball Association season on October 17 and the Warriors closing out the Houston Rockets on Monday night, we'd see a tetralogy for Warriors-Cavaliers.

The Warriors are also dealing with injuries as Kerr said Andre Iguodala, who has missed the last two games with a bruised left leg, is doubtful for Monday's game. And even when the Rockets misfired, they often outworked Golden State, strong-arming offensive boards on nine of their 19 missed shots.

Act 4 of the teams' long-running rivalry is guaranteed to be historic no matter how big a mismatch it appears on paper in Golden State's favour, as never before in any of North America's four major team sports have the same two teams met to decide the championship four times in a row.

At that point, it was just too much ground to make up.

The defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors must win on the road in Houston to set up another rematch with LeBron James, but the Rockets have been the NBA's best home team in 2017-2018.

Paul averaged 21.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists during the playoffs and was competing in the conference finals for the first time in his career. Capela was a huge factor, hitting seven of eight shots for 14 of his 20 points in the first half.


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