The trend of lopsided finishes continued throughout the NBA Conference Finals as the Rockets fell behind 2-1 to the Warriors and LeBron James fought his way back to even the slate against the Celtics.
Houston’s first attempt to reclaim the home court advantage failed miserably in game three. Stephen Curry was the story from California and showed just how difficult it is to win at the Oracle Arena. Curry hit five three-pointers and led all scorers with 35 in the 40-point blowout. Kevin Durant added 25 points and Draymond Green snagged 17 rebounds.
The win marked 16-straight postseason victories for Golden State at home, surpassing the record set by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the ‘90s. It was also a decisive blow to Houston’s morale after it was salvaged in game two.
The worst part for the Rockets was a final total of just 85 points after 127 in game two. James Harden led the team with 20 points and Chris Paul added 13. While Houston obviously wasn’t on top of their game, it was still an impressive effort by Golden State to slow them down the way they did. If the Warriors can be a fraction as effective defensively moving forward, the Rockets don’t stand much of a chance.
Just when the world dismissed LeBron James and the Cavaliers, Cleveland got back on track with back-to-back home victories to even the series at two games apiece. Game three saw a much more balanced effort in production on the offensive side of the ball as well as a stronger defensive presence. The Cavs held Boston to just 86 points and saw 10 points or more from four players not wearing the number 23. James had 27.
But game four was still a must-win for Cleveland, and LeBron James didn't disappoint. He led all scorers with 44 points on the night and helped Cleveland build a back-breaking 16-point advantage after the first quarter. James also passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most field goals made in the postseason with 2,357. This feat comes just a year after he passed Michael Jordan for most career postseason points.
Boston actually outscored Cleveland in the final three quarters, but still fell 111-102. Despite the one-sided feel from tipoff, it was by far the most competitive finish in either of the two conference finals. It’s strange because the series are usually close, but the individual games themselves are almost always blowouts. It’s always great to maximize the possibility of potential games played, but is it really worth watching a series that goes six or seven games if they all end with 20-point margins? I’d take a sweep with four nail-biters, personally.
It’s especially hard to watch lopsided finishes in the conference finals because these were the most anticipated series of the entire playoffs. I might be wrong, but I don’t expect either of the teams from the east to stand much of a chance against whoever wins the west. This is especially true if it’s the Warriors, but a shorthanded Boston squad or even LeBron James would be hard pressed to beat Houston.
The Rockets attempted to even their series with the Warriors at two games last night at the Oracle. The Cavs and Celtics will square off in a pivotal game five matchup tonight in Boston.