Another NBA Finals, another big challenge for James

Curry - with his wife, Riley and her 3-year-old sister, Ryan, by his side - said he was just happy to put the "stressful but fun" night behind him.

Because LeBron James' eighth straight Finals was certainly no inevitability, from the first round, when the Indiana Pacers almost knocked off the Cavs, to the Eastern Conference finals, when the Boston Celtics took them to the brink.

The Warriors are the first team in postseason history to win multiple elimination games in the same series when trailing by 10 or more points at halftime. They have to be exhausted, and that's no way to go into a series against Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who blew Cleveland away in five games past year.

Entering the third quarter the Rockets led 54-43, but had missed nine 3-pointers in a row. The Action Network says it'll be the fifth time that James's team has been a double-digit playoff underdog; his team covered the spread in three of the previous four but won only one of those games outright.

"We were in really good shape - really good shape", said an always-stoic Brad Stevens afterwards.

The Warriors are going off at -1200 to beat LeBron James and the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Finals, per Bookmaker.

But, as was the case in Game 6 when the Rockets led by 17, they ran out of gas.

He did in the second half.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr joked that he had considered resigning before his team bounced back from a disastrous first half performance to reach the NBA Finals on Monday.

The Rockets had no answer for the Warriors in the third quarter of most of their games this series and it was that quarter that propelled the Warriors to another NBA Finals appearance.

The Rockets aren't dwelling on their missed opportunity to close out the series as they get ready for Monday's game where they'll try to punch their ticket to finals for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1995-95. But that's ultimately what loosens the game up and what gets us going is Steph's offense, and Steph's high screens, and 3-point shots off those screens. James Harden wasn't much better, missing 11 of his 13 threes (32 points, six rebounds, six assists in all) while Gordon missed 10 of 12. No, we've got the right formula.

It's easy for a two-time MVP to give credit to teammates when their names are Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Houston finally found a little offence after that, using a 7-2 run to cut it to 99-92, but their rally bid came up short.

The Cavaliers have been waiting since Sunday to find out which team they would play for the championship: Houston or Golden State.

Like James' two 3-pointers late in Game 6, the dagger had been plunged and twisted.

Houston and Golden State are playing to take on the Cavs.

Yet another third-quarter blitz saved the Warriors' season on Monday night, when Golden State won the West and eliminated the Houston Rockets. Houston grabbed the offensive rebound on 38 percent of their missed shots in the first half, and the Warriors turned the ball over on 21.7 percent of their of their possessions - that led to 11 more shot attempts.

  • Julie Sanders