Warriors book 4th consecutive National Basketball Association finals appearance with win over Rockets

LeBron James followed up his jaw-dropping block with an epic full-court staredown

Without Andre Iguodala again, the Warriors shook off another bad first half in Game 7 on Monday night to rally for a 101-92 victory that made them the fifth team in National Basketball Association history to advance to the finals in four straight seasons.

With the Warriors ready for a fourth straight Finals appearance against the Cavaliers, Curry's already added another juicy layer to the years-long saga between the two teams.

"Yes", he said, "because it's really hard".

James took his team to their fourth finals and his eighth NBA Final in a row; James reached the final between 2011 and 2014 with Miami Heats and from 2015 to 2018 with Cavaliers. Iguodala collided with the Rockets' James Harden in Game 3 of the series and has not played since.

The Rockets fell apart in the second half again after doing so in Game 6.

"I was thinking of resigning", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his reaction to the first half. "You have to have endurance, you've got to have resiliency, you've got to have confidence in yourself, no matter how the game's going up until that point, that you can turn it around".

"We were so scattered, every part of the game plan went out the window in the first 45 seconds, basically", he said.

Neither heart nor Harden nor game contributions from Clint Capela (20 points and nine rebounds), Eric Gordon (23 points) and P.J. Tucker (14 points and 12 rebounds) were quite enough for a team that, in the very frank words of its general manager Daryl Morey, have always been "obsessed" with toppling the Warriors.

"It's going to be fun", Stephen Curry said.

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Tatum had a dunk over James with 6:41 left - and stared down the Cavaliers star and bumped him with his chest - and then followed it with a three-pointer that gave the Celtics a 72-71 lead.

"A big blow for us", Kerr said. But suddenly Houston chose to start chucking 3-pointers at an even higher rate. Kevin Durant had 13 points at the break for the Warriors.

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.

He went down with a right hamstring strain and was unable to recover in time to play in the deciding Game 7.

In both of those games, the Warriors seized control by dominating the third quarters and going on insane runs.

"I can not do that next series, and that's a big no-no", he said.

At that point, it was just too much ground to make up.

The Rockets led by as much as 15 in the first half, but yet another brutal third quarter cost them as the Warriors will return to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season. 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. Klay Thompson picked up three fouls in the first quarter, but still finished with 19 points.

The Celtics have had more time to get used to their injuries: Gordon Hayward has been out since the first game of the season, and Kyrie Irving has been sidelined since March.

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