Warriors Classics: Reflecting on Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals and Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals
By Tim Roye
I know that everyone is going through some level of anxiety in this uncertain spring and need distractions to buoy the spirit. That’s why I am really looking forward to tonight’s replay of two great games in Warriors history on 95.7 The Game, one that saw a great comeback in the Western Conference Finals and the other with one of the most bizarre plays in NBA Finals history. The first will be Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals which will be followed by Game 1 of the 2018 Finals with yours truly and Jim Barnett on the call.
The Warriors almost didn’t make Game 7 of the WCF as they trailed the Rockets 3-2 and were down 17 points in Game 6, but behind nine 3-point buckets from Klay Thompson, they had scratched out a Game 6 win at Oracle. There was a quiet confidence around the team though and it was apparent in how they handled themselves at shootaround and before Game 7.
Following a pattern in this series, Golden State trailed early, down by 15 at one point and it was Houston leading 54-43 at halftime. The Rockets seemed to tire in the second half in this series. That pattern, by the way, is one that the 1974-75 championship Warriors had followed as well. As the Warriors regained their footing, the Rockets would miss 27 straight threes and would finish 1 of their last 30 attempts. The Warriors won 101-92 overcoming the largest deficit that a road team had ever faced at halftime of a Game7.
In the second half of Game 6 and Game 7, the Warriors outscored the rockets 122-63!
With that win, the Warriors advanced to its fourth-consecutive NBA Finals and were the fifth franchise in NBA history to reach the Finals in four-straight seasons, joining the Boston Celtics (10, 1957-1966; 4 1984-87), Cleveland Cavaliers (4, 2015-18), Los Angeles Lakers (4, 1982-1985) and Miami Heat (4, 2011-2014). It was also the first time in American Sports history that two teams had met in any Finals for four straight years.
Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals had one of the most bizarre plays I have ever seen. The Warriors led by one after a Curry three, 107-106 with just 23.5 seconds remaining. Gorge Hill got fouled and made the first free throw to tie it but missed the second which was rebounded by JR Smith. Smith forgot what the score was and dribbled the ball to mid-court where LeBron James gestured wildly. By the time he had realized it and passed to Hill on the wing, whose wild attempt at the buzzer was blocked.
All I remember about the break between regulation and overtime was seeing the shock and relief on the faces of the fans. I thought that there was no way that Cleveland could rebound from the way regulation ended and the Warriors ended up with the first nine points in OT en route to the win.
Thanks to our friends at 95.7 the Game, we can relive these two great games in Warriors beginning tonight, Friday March 20th, at 6 p.m.
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