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Warriors offensive explosion vs. Rockets forces Game 7 in Houston

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It all comes down to Monday night.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On the brink of elimination, the Golden State Warriors answered the call and forced a Game 7, blowing out the Houston Rockets by a score of 115-86.

The game was closer than the final score suggested, especially when you take into account that the Rockets were up 17 points after the first quarter and up 10 at halftime.

James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Eric Gordon had 53 points combined in the first half to the Warriors’ 51. The shooting was as good as the team has seen since Game 2. But the Rockets went ice cold and scored just 25 points in the entire second half.

Ariza was scoreless after halftime, Harden scored just eight in the third, and Gordon, who was lights out in the first half, had just three points in the second half.

The Warriors knew their life was on the line down 10 going into the second half and erased their deficit within three minutes of the first half with an 11-0 run. The Big 3 stepped up for Golden State and outscored Houston by themselves, combining for 88 points. The team was led by Klay Thompson, who had a game-high 35 points and shot 13-23 from the field. Stephen Curry also shot above 50 percent, making 12 of his 23 shots and sank five triples.

The switch was flipped in the second half thanks to the Warriors’ desperation and combine that with the Rockets’ series-high 21 turnovers, it equals a 29-point blowout. The switch was heavily pushed along by the referees, who noticeably swallowed their whistle in the second half.

Chris Paul’s absence was notable, but it was not the reason why the Rockets lost tonight. The Rockets turned the ball over too much, and the refs were awful, but the Warriors made their threes and were in their element tonight. No team could have stopped the Warriors’ onslaught tonight, other than, you know the Rockets with Chris Paul.

Tonight is a disappointment, but not all the air is out of the balloon.

The series shifts back to Houston for Game 7. The Rockets have home court advantage and will need to find a way to limit their turnovers and the Warriors offense. Hopefully the Houston crowd will help ice the Warriors, lift the role players and lead the Rockets to their first Finals appearance since 1995.