The Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 113-100, in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series on May 17. The Rockets overcame a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
The Houston Rockets are in, the Los Angeles Clippers are out.
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The Rockets beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 113-100, in Game 7 of their second-round NBA playoff series on May 17 at the Toyota Center in Houston to advance to the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, per The Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.
Houston led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter to stave off any potential Clippers rally before a roaring crowd of 18,463 at home. James Harden led the Rockets with 31 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, Trevor Ariza had 22 points and Dwight Howard had 16 points and 15 reboiunds per The Houston Chronicle.
Forward Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Paul added 26 points and 10 assists while center DeAndre Jordan scored 16 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, per The Los Angeles Times' Ben Bolch.
The Rockets become just the ninth team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in a playoff series, per Bolch. The last team to pull this off was the 2006 Phoenix Suns when they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.
The Los Angeles Times update says Clippers forward Matt Barnes stepping out of bounds on his team's first possession was a sign of things to come. The Clippers would commit seven turnovers in the first quarter alone to finish with 18 for the game.
The Clippers organization will always remember not closing out the Rockets in Game 6 at home. That game will always haunt them.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 17, 2015
I thought the Spurs taught the Clippers how to win after a tough 7 game series. I was wrong. The Clippers are still the Clippers.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 17, 2015
Guard J.J. Redick finished with six turnovers while Griffin had five for Los Angeles, per Bolch.
The Clippers' miscues and the Rockets' efficiency on the offensive end resulted in a nine-point first-quarter lead that became 15 in the second quarter and 17 in the third, per The Los Angeles Times.
Feigen says forward Josh Smith scored nine points in the first half to help the Rockets establish the early lead.
Los Angeles made a run to cut the lead to three early in the third quarter and eight in the waning moments of the fourth. Redick missed a triple which would have cut it to five in the fourth quarter before Ariza drilled a three-pointer from the left corner in the final minute to put the game out of reach, per Bolch.
Former Rockets guard Mario Elie compared Ariza's three to the one he made from the very same spot against the Suns in 1995, prompting him to call this one "The Kiss of Death II," per a separate update from Feigen.
Rockets swingman Corey Brewer scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help hold off the Clippers, per The Houston Chronicle.
Redick, Barnes and Jamal Crawford combined for a 10-of-32 shooting clip for Los Angeles. They made just five of 19 three-pointers, per The Los Angeles Times.
The Rockets' win booked a trip to the Western Conference Finals to Oakland against the Golden State Warriors. According to The Houston Chronicle update, it is the Rockets' first time to play in the Western Conference Finals since 1997.
"I don't think there was any doubt in anyone's minds or hearts that we couldn't win," Howard told Feigen. "I think that's what carried us."
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale lauded his players' collective effort in winning Game 7 at home, per The Houston Chronicle:
"We just had a lot of guys that played well. That's what it takes. It just takes a lot of guys playing well to be a team. I told our guys, '(being down) 1-3 feels really, really, really bad, especially when they stomp on you in Games 3 and 4.
"But it was just our guys that just kind of ground it out. Our guys rallied together. They just did a hell of a job.
"Everybody that stepped on the floor really contributed."
On the other hand, the Clippers regretted letting a golden opportunity slip away.
Redick gave Bolch an interesting comparision:
"You never want to equate sports with death, but it does feel like a wake or funeral.
"They were absolutely relentless for 48 minutes and we were not."
Griffin told The Los Angeles Times he and his teammates have nobody to blame but themselves:
"We can't look at anybody but ourselves. It's disappointing.
"Myself included, we wanted it so bad taht we didn't make the plays we normally do."
Game 1 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors will be at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Ca. on Tuesday, May 19, at 9 p.m. ET.
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