No Curry, no worry as Warriors eliminate Rockets

Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:24pm EDT
 
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(The Sports Xchange) - The Golden State Warriors did not skip a beat without key point guard Stephen Curry, routing the Houston Rockets 114-81 on Wednesday to seal a 4-1 series triumph in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The defending NBA champs will move on to face either the Portland Trail Blazers or Los Angeles Clippers.

If the Trail Blazers, up 3-2 in the series, can finish off the injury-ravaged Clippers at home on Friday, the Western semi-final best-of-seven would start on Sunday in Oakland.

The Warriors almost surely will be without Curry for most, if not all, of the second-round series after he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during Game 4 against the Rockets on Sunday.

Golden State improved to 4-2 without the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player by winning the series clincher against the Rockets, with veteran Shaun Livingston stepping into Curry's starting role and contributing 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

Ten of Livingston's points came on 4-for-4 shooting and a pair of free throws in the first quarter, during which the Warriors scored the first eight points and suffocated every Rocket not named James Harden en route to a 37-20 lead.

Harden had 18 points in the quarter, hitting six of eight shots. Meanwhile, his team mates never made a hoop in the 12 minutes, going 0-for-15 from the field and 0-for-7 from 3-point range.

Dwight Howard's two free throws provided the only Houston scoring other than by Harden in the period.

Harden finished with a game-high 35 points to go with six rebounds and a team-high six assists, but it was not nearly enough to overcome a balanced Warriors attack.   Continued...

 
Confetti falls from the ceiling after the Golden State Warriors win game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets 114-81. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports