OAKLAND – With Stephen Curry watching from the bench, the Warriors took the floor without the reigning MVP and dominated the Houston Rockets.
Going wire-to-wire with barely a whimper of protest from the Rockets, the Warriors rolled to a 114-81 victory in Game 5 Wednesday night to win the first-round playoff series and advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Warriors next face the winner of the Clippers-Trail Blazers series, in which Portland holds a 3-2 edge with Game 6 scheduled for Friday night in Oregon.
The Warriors spoke of not wanting to return to Houston for a Game 6 and it was apparent early that they meant it, much to the delight of the sellout crowd (19,596) at Oracle Arena. They took a double-digit lead early and never lost it.
Klay Thompson scored a team-high 27 points, with Shaun Livingston putting in 16, and Brandon Rush and Draymond Green finishing with 15 each.
The Warriors leaned hard on their defense, which limited Houston to 32.3-percent shooting from the field. James Harden scored 35 points on 12-of-23 shooting. His teammates combined to shoot 19-of-73, for 26.0 percent.
The honors for this one must shared among, though Livingston, Thompson and Green are in the center of the photo.
Thompson’s line: 27 points (10-of-14 shooting, 7-of-11 from beyond the arc) and three rebounds. He played 29 minutes, finishing plus-29 for the game.
Livingston’s line: 16 points (7-of-8 shooting), three rebounds and three assists. He played 29 minutes and also was plus-29.
Green’s line: 15 points (5-of-9 shooting, 2-of-5 from deep), team-high nine rebounds, team-high eight assists and two blocks. He played 31 minutes and was plus-32.
After a Harden jumper pulled the Rockets within five (19-14) with 6:08 to play in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 16-2 run, going up 35-16 with 1:12 left in the quarter.
The Warriors during that stretch of about five minutes held Houston to 1-of-6 shooting, with four turnovers.
The Rockets never got closer than 13 over the remainder of the first half and got no closer than 16 after halftime.
Warriors: G Stephen Curry (R MCL sprain) and F Kevon Looney (L hip surgery) were listed as out and placed on the inactive list.
Rockets: Sam Dekker (low back soreness) and F Terrence Jones (healthy) were placed on the inactive list.
The Warriors will face the winner of the Clippers-Trail Blazers series. Game 1 will be played at Oracle Arena, date and time to be determined.