Wholesale Houston Rockets Jerseys

Wholesale Houston Rockets Jerseys

Hell hath no fury like the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter.

And that’s a primary reason why we will have Cavaliers-Warriors IV in the NBA Finals.

It’s a predictable flurry of punches that opponents are powerless to fend off. The Warriors dominated third quarters all season long and have kicked it into another gear during the playoffs. Yet another third-quarter blitz saved the Warriors’ season on Monday night, when Golden State won the West and eliminated the Houston Rockets.

The Warriors rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit en route to a 101-92 win in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. Golden State seized the lead by outscoring Houston by 18 points in the third quarter. The Warriors are now plus-130 in third quarters during the playoffs, the highest overall scoring margin in a quarter by any team in a postseason during the shot clock era, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Warriors are plus-68 in third quarters during this season, and plus-35 in the past two games, when the Rockets really could have used Chris Paul’s calming presence.

Golden State looked so bad in the first quarter that Steve Kerr, the back-to-back recipient of the Rudy Tomjanovich Award that honors the most media-friendly NBA coach, cut short his between-quarters interview with TNT.

“I saw one of the worst quarters of basketball we’ve ever played and we’re down five points. So if we can get our act together, we’ll be fine,” Kerr grumbled before walking off after only one question.

It took another dozen minutes and perhaps a few choice words from Kerr at halftime, but wow, did the Warriors ever get their act together.

After looking sloppy and discombobulated in the first half, the Warriors morphed back into one of the most explosive offenses in NBA history during the third quarter. Stephen Curry led the way with 14 points in the frame — only one fewer than the Rockets — and hit 4 of 5 3s, including one with 3:58 remaining in the quarter that gave Golden State the lead for good.

The Rockets, meanwhile, misfired again and again from long range. Houston missed all 14 3s that it launched in the third quarter, part of a stretch of 27 straight missed 3s, the longest such drought during a playoff game in NBA history. Houston was 7-of-44 from 3-point range in the game.

Wholesale Houston Rockets Jerseys

With Paul sidelined for the second straight game by a strained right hamstring, the Rockets needed a superhero night from probable MVP James Harden to have a realistic shot at dethroning the defending champions. Harden finished with 32 points, six rebounds and six assists but was only 12-of-29 from the floor and 2-of-13 on 3s.

Curry and Kevin Durant, meanwhile, played like the MVPs they’ve been, at least in the second half. Durant finished with 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting, scoring 21 in the second half. Curry scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half, when he also dished out half of his 10 assists.

The Rockets, minus Paul, simply didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Golden State’s superstars.

As a result, the Warriors celebrated on the Toyota Center court while Harden headed into the tunnel. It will be a summer of what-could-have-been for the Rockets, who couldn’t finish off the Warriors without Paul after putting them on the ropes.

The Warriors are off for a fourth chapter against LeBron James’ Cavaliers.

Wholesale Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys

The Cleveland Cavaliers might lead the Toronto Raptors 3-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but two of those wins came by a combined three points.

As overwhelming an advantage as the Cavs might seem to be taking into Monday’s Game 4, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue is cautioning his team against overconfidence.

“I don’t know who the pressure is on,” Lue said Sunday after the Cavs convened for a brief film session, “but it’s a tough game because it’s either win or go home for the team down 3-0.

“They’re going to come out swinging like they did [Saturday] night, and when you have a team with a lot of pride that’s well-coached, they’re not just going to give in. They’re going to do everything they can to try to win the game and get back to Toronto. We understand that, and we just have to come out with the right mindset and match their intensity early and try to close it out if we can.”

The Cavs blew their first crack at a closeout game in these playoffs in Game 6 of the first round against the Indiana Pacers, as they were embarrassed by 34 points at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It broke LeBron James’ streak of winning 11 straight closeout games and came against a team that was a lower seed. Lue believes the Pacers prepared Cleveland to contend with Toronto.

“The Indiana series definitely helped us for this series,” he said. “You see [Toronto] the last couple of games, trying to get physical and trying to pressure the ball. So that Indiana series really helped us out going forward. We saw that in the first series, so now we should be pretty much immune to it. But we have to get better at owning our space and, you know, just being strong with the basketball. They’re trying to lean on us, grabbing us, holding us, and it’s not being called. We just have to be strong.”

Unlike Game 6 against Indiana, Monday’s Game 4 is a home contest for Cleveland, which should be in the Cavs’ favor. However, it comes against a Raptors team that is the No. 1 seed in the East, rather than the lower-seeded Pacers. Still, the Cavs will have history on their side, as Cleveland is 9-0 in Game 4 in franchise history when coming into the game leading a playoff series 3-0.

Not to mention, the Cavs have won nine straight postseason games against the Raptors, dating to the 2016 Eastern Conference finals. They’ll try to make it 10 straight by riding the momentum from James’ buzzer-beater in Game 3 into the closeout opportunity.

“We enjoy it,” Lue said. “It was [a] big win for us. There’s some things we could have done better down the stretch. We definitely enjoy it. Being up 3-0 is a great position to be in. We know they’re going to come out, just like they did [Saturday] night in that fourth quarter to try to play and to start the game that way, so we got to be prepared for that.”