Behind 2014-15 NBA MVP Stephen Curry's 40 points, the Golden State Warriors routed the Houston Rockets on the road in Game 3, 115-80, on May 23 for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
The Golden State Warriors are now one win away from the 2015 NBA Finals.
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2014-15 NBA MVP Stephen Curry scored 40 points and broke the NBA record for most three-pointers in a single postseason to catapult the Warriors to a 115-80 rout of the Houston Rockets in Game 3 at the latter's Toyota Center on May 23, per Golden State's official website.
The game was close during the opening minutes when Rockets center Dwight Howard tied the count at 9 apiece on a powerful dunk. However, his counterpart, Andrew Bogut, outscored Houston 8-1 in the ensuing 100 seconds to give Golden State a 17-10 lead.
Howard would come right back with a follow-up dunk to trim the deficit to just five, but that would be the closest the Rockets would get the rest of the way, per the Warriors' official website.
Warriors forward Draymond Green would answer Howard with at three-pointer, sparking his team to a 13-6 run to close out the first quarter to give Golden State a 30-18 lead.
Houston tried to regain the momentum as it went on an 11-8 run at the beginning of the second quarter to pull within seven.
It would all go for naught as Curry would take over from there.
He scored 15 of the Warrors' next 17 points in the next three minutes to give Golden State its first 20-point lead of the game. The Warriors would eventually build their lead to 25 at 62-37 at halftime.
Their 25-point lead after the first 24 minutes would be their biggest halftime lead in the team's postseason history. Helping matters was the fact Golden State committed just one turnover during the first half, per its official website.
The Rockets would go on a 7-1 run to open the second half. They would cut the 25-point deficit to 18 on a James Harden three-pointer with 7:43 left in the third quarter.
The Warriors would frustrate Houston with an 8-0 run for a 26-point lead -- their biggest lead of the game so far. After Houston forward Corey Brewer split his charities, Golden State would go on a 7-2 run to lead by 31 after three quarters, 92-61.
Curry scored just three points in the first quarter, but scored a combined 34 points in the middle quarters, per The San Jose Mercury News' Adam Lauridsen.
Lauridsen describes how the 2014-15 NBA MVP would single-handedly dominate Game 3:
"With the game wrapped up, Curry set about trashing false narratives. He boxed out Dwight Howard, ripped a rebound away from him with one arm, and got fouled going back up for the basket.
"He drove the ball repeatedly through the gut of the Houston defense, taking all the grabs, holds and hits they could deliver on his way to made baskets or trips to the line. On the few occasions he couldn't create something for himself, he found his teammates for dunks and layups."
Curry also got into it with some of the Houston fans who were seated courtside. Some of them would shout profanities at him. When he drained a three-pointer in the second half, "Curry turned and politely instructed the fan to sit down," per The San Jose Mercury News.
He told ESPN that is what NBA playoff basketball is all about:
"That's the fun of playoff basketball on the road. You've got hecklers and guys up close that paid a lot of money for those seats that want to get their money's worth...if they want to talk, hopefully, they can take some back."
Houston would try to whittle the deficit with a 9-2 run to open up the fourth quarter, but Golden State would prove to be too much in the end.
The Warriors answered right back with a 16-5 run to go up by 35 points at 110-75 with less than four minutes left to play. They would hold on to win by the same margin in the end.
According to Golden State's official website, the Warriors' 35-point win in Game 3 would be the second biggest margin of victory on the road in a conference finals game. No team has overcome a 3-0 series deficit in NBA playoff history.
In the end, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told ESPN he wasn't surprised with Curry's performance:
"Steph is Steph.
"He's had a brilliant season. The shooting is hard to describe because I don't think we've every seen anybody shoot the ball the way Steph does off the dribble, off the catch."
His counterpart, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale, was disappointed with his team's lack of sense of urgency.
"I was surprised that we didn't come out with more," McHale told ESPN. "I thought we would come out with a little more juice."
Draymond Green (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Bogut (12 points, 12 rebounds) each had a double-double for the Warriors. All-NBA Third Team member Klay Thompson had 17 points for Golden State.
Harden led Houston with 17 points. Josh Smith added 16 for the Rockets, per ESPN.
The Golden State Warriors will try to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years when they face the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on Monday, May 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET.
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