Stephen Curry led the Golden State Warriors, who were without key player Kevin Durant, to a 118-113 victory over the Hourton Rockets on Saturday morning.
The result sees the two-time defending champions advance to the Western Conference finals. They will appear in the NBA’s final four for the fifth consecutive season and eliminated the Rockets from the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
"We knew at some point we would have a chance to steal this game and we did," said Curry, who played with a dislocated finger on his left hand.
The Warriors clinched the series in six games by despite missing Durant, who suffered a calf strain in game five, but is likely to return before the end of the playoffs.
"We miss our guy but we know he is going to be back," said Curry of Durant. "This whole playoff run he has been the best player in the league and has carried us so the least we could do is have his back tonight and move on to the next round."
Warriors forward Draymond Green said they had to revert to their vintage championship form from before Durant joined them in 2016.
"There were some times it felt like that — a lot of movement just trying to push the tempo," Green said. "With Kevin, you can kind of be lazy knowing you can throw the ball to (him) and he'll get that bucket. It definitely was a little throwback for us, for sure."
The Western Conference finals begin on Tuesday in Oakland, California against either the Portland Trail Blazers or the Denver Nuggets.
No additional pressure for French Open – Novak Djokovic
World no.1 Novak Djokovic says he will not be putting any additional pressure on himself as he heads into the 2019 French Open, which begins at Roland Garros later this month.
Should the Serbian claim his second championship in Paris (adding to his triumph three years ago) he would all four Grand Slam titles, having won Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018, as well as the Australian Open earlier this year.
"I have been in this particular position in 2016 when I managed to secure four Slams in a row, of course, there was a lot of pressure and expectations from around but personally it was an additional pressure that I don't want to impose myself this time,” explained Djokovic.
“There is already big anticipation for that from my side, from everyone else but I want to try to build my form.
“I don't feel like I am still playing at my best on clay, I still feel like I have a couple more steps to get to that level but that's how it has been for many years and of course this kind of surface requires a lot of time on the court and patience, so hopefully I can have two good tournaments in Madrid and Rome [as preparation]."
On being the top-ranked player for a total of 250 weeks, he concluded: "It is a great achievement and I am, obviously, very proud of it.
“I am grateful to have that experience and an opportunity to make the history of the sport that I love, it inspires me to keep going and motivates me to try to get more weeks and reach the guys that are in front of, of course. Making the history of the sport is an honour and is huge.”