Warriors must control these three things in order to win Game 7 in Houston


HOUSTON -- The most compelling two words in sports land upon the Warriors and Rockets on Monday night when they meet to decide the Western Conference Finals.

Game 7.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4: 30 p.m. PDT, with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn. Tipoff of the TNT telecast is set for 6 p.m.

While the Warriors declared Andre Iguodala out for the fourth consecutive game, the Rockets are practically praying that Chris Paul, who missed Game 6 on Saturday, will be able to play through a strained hamstring.

Warriors by 6.5

Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Thompson’s efficiency and production was vastly superior to that of Harden in Game 6. That was in Oakland. Harden tends to perform better at home. With Paul’s status uncertain -- his effectiveness will be diminished even if he somehow is able to play -- the Rockets need Harden to be phenomenal. If Thompson’s mindset is to focus on defending Harden and letting his own offense come, the Warriors should be OK.

Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is listed as available. C/F Kevon Looney (L toe soreness) is listed as probable. F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg contusion) is listed as out.

Rockets: G Chris Paul (R hamstring strain) was ruled out by Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni.

Scott Foster (crew chief), Mike Callahan, Derrick Stafford, Jason Phillips (alternate)

THE OTHERS: While the Warriors will ride their All-Stars, the Rockets will have to find production from the supporting cast. They need Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green to rain 3-pointers. If the Warriors can keep those guys in check -- under 50 points -- it’s hard to see an avenue to victory for Houston.

THE GIFTS: The team with the fewest turnovers has won all six games. The Warriors are averaging 13 per game, and they’re 0-3 when they’ve gone over that mark. Well, the Rockets are averaging 16 per game. The Warriors have fought the turnover battle all season. Losing it now means going home.

THE START: The sellout crowd Toyota Center will be at full throat trying to urge their team its first NBA Finals appearance in 23 years. The Warriors take fiendish delight in silencing opposing venues. Nothing would better accomplish that, while also testing the mettle of the Rockets, than a scorching start.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Warriors 126, Rockets 85
Game 4 Rockets 95, Warriors 92
Game 5 Rockets 98, Warriors 94
Game 6 Warriors 115, Rockets 86
Game 7 Houston -- Monday, May 28th at 6pm
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