The Golden State Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years by eliminating the Houston Rockets in five games, and will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the National Basketball Association title.
Harrison Barnes had 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors won 104-90 Wednesday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Stephen Curry scored 26 points and Klay Thompson had 20 for Golden State.
“It’s just a proud moment for everybody in the Bay Area to just be four wins away from our goal,” said Curry, who was handed the Western Conference championship trophy by Alvin Attles, who was the Warriors’ coach when they last played in the NBA Finals in 1975.
Curry again was accompanied at his postgame news conference by 2-year-old daughter Riley, who stole the show from him after Game 1 of the series -- leading to a public debate about whether kids should attend news conferences.
James Harden, who had 45 points in Houston’s Game 4 win on Monday night, was held to 14 points on 2-of-11 shooting in Game 5 and set an NBA playoff record by committing 13 turnovers. The previous mark of 11 turnovers in a postseason game was set by John Williamson of the New Jersey Nets in 1979.
“I put so much pressure on myself to just be really good every single night, and in some cases you’re not going to do that,” Harden, who finished second to Curry in the Most Valuable Player voting this season, told reporters. “Tonight that was the case.”
LeBron James advanced to his fifth straight NBA Finals on Tuesday night as the Cavaliers finished off a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Hawks to win the Eastern Conference title.
The best-of-seven NBA Finals start June 4 at Golden State. Las Vegas quickly made the Warriors the favorite, with RJ Bell of Pregame.com saying Golden State had a 69 percent chance of winning the title. The Warriors opened as a six-point favorite in Game 1.
“To get to the finals for the first time in 40 years, it’s more than relief, it’s joy,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in a news conference. “I have not given one ounce of thought to Cleveland, we’ve had our hands full with Houston.”