OAKLAND, CALIF.—Stephen Curry had 26 points and eight rebounds, Harrison Barnes added 24 points and the Golden State Warriors advanced to the NBA final for the first time in 40 years with a 104-90 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
After decades of wishing and waiting for this moment, the Warriors have finally arrived. They shook off a slow start and sweated out a shaky finish in Game 5 to close out the Rockets and set up a matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers starting June 4.
Yellow streamers and confetti fell from the rafters when the final buzzer sounded. The Warriors shared hugs and handshakes, and the crowd chanted “M-V-P!” for Curry, who relished the moment on court with 2-year-old daughter Riley.
Curry said he had no lingering effects from his frightening fall in Game 4 that left him with a bruised head and right side. The MVP wore a protective yellow sleeve on his right arm, which he shed in the third quarter after shooting 4 for 12 and the Warriors clinging to a 52-46 halftime lead.
Things got tougher on Curry when backcourt mate Thompson faked a shot that drew Trevor Ariza in the air early in the fourth quarter. Thompson took Ariza’s knee to the side of his head, sending him to the floor. Thompson, who finished with 20 points, lay on the court for a minute before walking to the locker room. He came back to the bench with what the team called a right ear laceration.
Barnes highlighted the decisive spurt with a dunk that gave Golden State an 87-72 lead with 7:10 remaining. He flexed his muscles to the yellow-shirted sellout crowd of 19,596, which spent the final quarter on its feet in anticipation of a celebration a generation in the works.
Now it’s LeBron vs. Curry.
King James vs. the Baby-Faced Assassin.
The four-time NBA MVP vs. the newly crowned MVP.