Warriors Defeat Rockets, Setting Up Fourth Straight NBA Finals Clash with Cavaliers

Posted on: May 29, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: May 29, 2018, 11:47h.

If you’re a big fan of sequels, then it’s time to get excited about the 2018 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors will be taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA championship, the fourth straight year in which that matchup has determined who will walk away with the title.

Warriors NBA Finals
The Golden State Warriors pose with the Western Conference championship trophy after defeating the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of their series. (Image: David J. Phillip/AP)

The Warriors fought past the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals on Monday night, erasing an 11-point halftime deficit to claim a 101-92 win in the deciding contest to set up a finals clash that has become something of an annual tradition.

A Night to Forget for Houston

While Golden State enjoyed great performances from stars like Steph Curry and Kevin Durant on Monday, Game 7 will be remembered more for what the Rockets failed to do. The team that relies more than any on the 3-point shot saw their biggest weapon turn into a massive liability in the most important game of the year, as Houston shot just 7-for-44 from beyond the arc.

Even that number doesn’t do justice to the incredible run of futility the Rockets suffered through. At one point, Houston missed 27 consecutive 3-pointers, an astounding and record-breaking streak that sent both fans and mathematicians looking for a way to calculate just how unlikely that run might be. Various estimates pegged it at anywhere from 10,300-to-1 all the way up to 186,220-to-1.

Given those numbers, you might expect the game to have been a blowout. But despite their struggles from downtown, the Rockets were up by as much as 15 points in the first half, making this was a tough test for the Warriors – one they could have lost if the Rockets had merely shot poorly instead of unbelievably badly.

“We lost our composure,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said of the first-half performance while speaking to reporters after the game. “Houston was outperforming us and out competing us. I didn’t recognize the group we were seeing.”

But the Warriors aren’t just another team, and the defending champions felt confident that they were in the game heading into the second half.

“There was a calmness at halftime in the locker room because we knew how bad we were playing, [but] we were in this situation before,” Curry said after the win. “I think it was a level of experience and maturity from our group that helped us get to the finish line.”

Warriors are Historic Favorite

Now, Golden State has one last challenge ahead of them before they can claim their third title in four years. They’ll have to get past the Cavaliers, meaning they’ll once again have to deal with the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James. The Warriors have won two of the three battles between the two teams, and this marks the first time the same squads have met four years in a row in the NBA Finals.

Heading into the series, few people are giving LeBron and the Cavs much of a shot. Bookmaker Ladbrokes has set the Warriors as the 1/10 choice to win the championship, making them one of the biggest favorites in NBA Finals history.

The series begins Thursday night, with the Warriors hosting Game 1. Golden State has been installed as a 12-point favorite in the opening contest, the largest spread since Game 1 of the 2001 finals, when the Lakers were also 12-point favorites over the 76ers. It’s worth noting that Philadelphia actually won that game – though the Lakers would go on to claim the series by a 4-1 margin.