Curry, short-handed Warriors knock out Rockets in Game 6

Associated Press

HOUSTON — Stephen Curry scored all 33 of his points in the second half and the Golden State Warriors overcame Kevin Durant‘s absence to finish off Houston in six games, beating the Rockets 118-113 on Friday night to advance to the Western Conference finals.

Klay Thompson added 27 points to help the two-time defending champion Golden State reach the conference finals for the fifth straight year and eliminate Houston for the fourth time in five seasons. The Warriors did it with Durant sidelined by a calf injury sustained in the second half of their Game 5 victory.

James Harden led Houston with 35 points, and Chris Paul added 27.

Harden’s layup got the Rockets within three with less than a minute to go, but Thompson made a 3-pointer with 36.1 seconds remaining to extend Golden State’s lead to 110-104.

Gerald Green then missed a 3 for Houston and the Rockets were forced to foul Curry. He made both shots before Harden’s 3 got Houston within five at 112-107 with 24 seconds left.

Playing with a dislocated finger on his left hand, Curry made two more free throws before P.J. Tucker hit a 3 for Houston. But two more free throws by Curry made it 116-110 with 12.3 seconds left and Harden dribbled it off his foot for the last of his six turnovers.

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The Rockets failed to score for a big chunk of the fourth quarter and had to watch the Warriors celebrate a series victory on their home court for the second straight season after they won the conference finals in Houston last year. Harden was 11 of 25 from the field, going 6 of 15 from 3-point range, and went 7 of 12 on free throws.

Curry struggled early, failing to score in the first half for the first time in 102 career playoff games, and had just 10 points through three. But he got going in the fourth, scoring 23 points.

There were questions entering the game about how the Warriors would weather the loss of Durant — and his more than 34 points a game. But they didn’t seem to miss a beat, getting 21 from Thompson in the first half before Curry closed it in the fourth.

The Rockets had a five-point lead to start the fourth and it was tied at 95 with about 7 1/2 minutes to go after three points by Golden State’s Shaun Livingston.

Harden and Curry exchanged baskets soon after that before both teams failed to score for the next 2 1/2 minutes. Houston missed five shots in that stretch and the Warriors missed four before Kevon Looney made a layup to put Golden State on top 99-97 with just under four minutes left.

A 3-pointer by Curry gave the Warriors a five-point lead before Harden ended a scoring drought by the Rockets of almost four minutes with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 102-100 with about 2 1/2 remaining.

Harden was called for a charge after that before Curry scored all of Golden State’s points in a 5-2 run that made it 107-102 with 90 seconds left.


Warriors: Durant didn’t make the trip to Houston, remaining in the Bay Area to receive treatment for his injury. The Warriors said he’ll be re-evaluated next week. … The Warriors started Andrew Bogut for Durant and he had three rebounds and zero points. … C Damian Jones, who is out with a torn pectoral muscle, has been cleared for contact drills and could be available later in the playoffs if the Warriors advance. …

Rockets: Tucker had 15 points and has scored at least 10 points in eight of Houston’s last 11 games. … Clint Capela had with 10 points and 10 rebounds.


The Warriors move on to face the Denver-Portland winner.

Is it time for Jeanie Buss to sell the Lakers to some people who actually know what the hell they are doing?

What would right the Lakers’ ship? The Buss family selling the team

Vincent Goodwill | Yahoo Sports

Perhaps Magic Johnson was trying to tell us something by getting out before the stink of a once-sterling franchise started to cloud his reputation.

Maybe he wanted to make his “sudden” resignation as public as possible to signal all the shenanigans happening inside the Staples Center, and if things are as bad as they appear, the Buss family should sell the team.

The basketball funk emanating from Los Angeles usually revolves around the red-headed stepchild Clippers, but for some reason, the Los Angeles Lakers feel compelled to try on the red nose and floppy wig for size.

The Lakers are burning goodwill at a rapid rate. What should have been a common-sense negotiation with Tyronn Lue turned into a painful ordeal that resulted in Lue pulling out of talks to become the franchise’s next head coach.

Team owner Jeanie Buss has been given the benefit of the doubt at every level — there was public clamor for her to save the Lakers from her brother, Jim, after years of misdirection and outdated management.

But there wasn’t much known about her aside from her business sense, her ability to charm the public, and her relationship with Phil Jackson.

The Lakers always felt like her No. 1 priority, but now she seems too preoccupied with pleasing those who haven’t put in the sweat equity of building the proud brand — a brand that requires the deftness of building both an entertaining product and a winning one.

The Lakers have failed at both for a large part of this decade.

They aren’t owned by some corporate entity, or some group looking for fame from courtside seats and TV cutaways. The Buss family and the Lakers are one and the same, and there was comfort in knowing the fans’ interests and the family’s wants were aligned.

But the favored daughter of the late Dr. Jerry Buss seems clueless in how to lead, and the reports of close confidants Linda and Kurt Rambis having so much influence are troubling.

Make no mistake: This is a mess of massive proportions, and headed into free agency, it’s the worst possible look for a franchise trying to attract star free agents and resemble a model, stable organization.

How many factions are inside Staples Center, angling for power and influence? Who knows what could happen with the Golden State Warriors this offseason? The Lakers’ opportunity to return to prominence is being wasted by the day, while the Clippers are looking like a model of consistency and professionalism.

Chris Broussard: ‘The Lakers Are The Worst Run Organization In The League… The sky is falling for LeBron James…”

This all feels like “The Twilight Zone” — but this episode has no end in sight.

The recent developments reek of a franchise unable to accept the terms of having a superstar like LeBron James, even at this advanced stage of his career, and doing what’s necessary to give him the best chance to win.

Offering an accomplished coach like Lue — one of five active or recently active coaches with a championship on his résumé — a three-year deal feels like micromanagement at best, disrespect at worst. Like it or not, five-year deals are standard in the topsy-turvy world of coaching. Whether the coach lives to see the end of the deal is immaterial — that’s the going rate.

‘Disrespectful’ and ‘pitiful’ – Chauncey Billups on Lakers’ treatment of Tyronn Lue..

And what’s worse, asking Lue to take on Rambis as an assistant, a no-no according to sources close to Lue, feels like the Lakers want their walls bugged and feared a LeBron takeover — as if Lue would allow himself to be used as a puppet.

Would that type of deal had been offered if they were trying to lure Brad Stevens from Boston, or Doc Rivers from inside their own building? Or was it the specter of James — the fear of having the outside world believe the most influential player of his time was running things — that caused them to put together such an insincere offer?

It’s no secret what having James in the building brings: Yes, he can be exhausting and pushy, passive-aggressive with his influence and immediate with his wants, but what else comes with that? Winning, even if he’s 90 percent of the player who has been a June fixture this decade.

Stephen A. — Time for LeBron to give the Lakers an ultimatum…

That month is apparently long forgotten to the Lakers. The last time they played in June, James was a year from starting his streak of eight straight NBA Finals. There’s a responsibility that comes with absorbing a talent like James, one the Lakers seemed eager to accept.

And there’s the greater responsibility of having stewardship of the Lakers’ brand, a franchise synonymous with winning, excellence and stars. When fans think of the glitz and glamour of the NBA, they think of the Lakers. They’ve endured from Showtime to the Lake Show to Shaq and Kobe, all in the modern basketball era.

It’s had its share of drama and dysfunction, but usually the notion of winning trumped all.

Now the Lakers appear ill-equipped to handle the undertaking and even seem a bit petty with the recent developments.

Why act small-time now? This is the same franchise that gave Kobe Bryant a two-year golden parachute to finish his career when it was clear his body could no longer produce superstar moments. While admirable, from an employee-employer relationship, the Lakers punted on competing for those two years.

Some have brought up the extreme: The Lakers trading James to a sane environment to play out his remaining years.

But given the dysfunction, the Buss family should go further: Sell the family business altogether.


Silver wants half of new NBA refs to be women

WASHINGTON — NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants half of all new referees joining the league to be women — and he would like to see teams hire female coaches, too.

In an appearance Thursday for The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Silver said two of the past five refs added from the developmental G League were women, bringing the total number of female officials to three.

“It’s an area, frankly, where I’ve acknowledged that I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long. Because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing,” Silver said.

“The goal is: Going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league. Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”

Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs was the NBA’s first full-time female assistant. Commissioner Adam Silver says “there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.” Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

There has never been a female head coach in the NBA.

Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs was the league’s first full-time female assistant. Kristi Toliver worked as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards this season; she also still plays for the WNBA’s Mystics in the same city.

In December, the Indiana Pacers made Kelly Krauskopf the first woman to hold the title of assistant general manager in the NBA.


Mychal Thompson responds to report about Klay being unhappy on Warriors

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS

Klay Thompson delivered on Wednesday night in the Warriors’ Game 5 win over the Rockets at Oracle Arena.

The five-time All-Star scored a team-best 27 points and went 11-for-20 from the field as the Dubs took a three-games-to-two series lead in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

On Thursday afternoon, his father, Mychal, was a guest on 95.7 The Game and was asked about the recent conflicting reports about Klay’s feelings about Golden State.

“He’s happy where he is,” Mychal said. “If you’re already living in the best house in the neighborhood, why would you move? I don’t know why this narrative keeps coming up. I guess it’s all speculative and it’s part of the business — wondering where all these free agents are gonna end up signing.

“I guess it just comes with the territory. But as far as he’s concerned, he’s quite content working for the company he’s already working for.”

Klay struggled in the Dubs’ Game 4 loss in Houston on Monday night, scoring just 11 points and making 5 of 15 shots.

The following morning on ESPN’s show First Take, Stephen A. Smith said the following:

“I’m not speaking about opinion here. I got this from a few people. I’m told Klay Thompson — I have not spoken to Klay in fairness to Klay, let me be clear about that — I’m told Klay isn’t happy — his number hasn’t been called nearly enough.

“He’s tired of sitting around and getting, this is a quote, the ‘crumbs’ left behind by other people.”

Late Wednesday night, Klay was asked about Smith’s comments.

“That’s not true,” he told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group. “Have I ever indicated I was unhappy?”

And Mychal relayed one more message as well:

“Unless you guys here from Klay himself, just dismiss everything else,” he advised.

Duly noted.