The Golden State Warriors have knocked the Houston Rockets out of the NBA Playoffs for a second straight year.
The defending champions won 118-113 in Houston on Saturday (NZ time) to take the Western Conference semi-final series 4-2.
They will play the winner of the Portland Trail Blazers-Denver Nuggets series, which will be decided by a game seven in Denver on Monday.
The Warriors won despite their best player, Kevin Durant, ruled out with a strained calf and Stephen Curry suffering a shooting drought in the first half of the intense game six.
Curry was scoreless in the first half.
He finished the game with 33 points, including a three-pointer and lay-up when the game was on the line in the final three minutes.
The Rockets’ star point guards James Harden and Chris Paul had 35 and 27 points respectively but could not handle the late surge led by Curry.
The Warriors’ Klay Thompson was lethal throughout with 27 points, connecting with seven of 13 three-pointers.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr inserted veteran Australian Bogut back into the starting line-up after Durant suffered the injury in game five.
Bogut started the first and third quarters, and in 11 minutes, he was scoreless with three rebounds, one assist and one block.
Durant had been exceptional in the playoffs, averaging 34 points, five rebounds and five assists while clocking 39 minutes a game.
Curry was scoreless in the first-half, missing all five field goal attempts and committing three fouls to force Kerr to sit him.
Despite the absence of Curry and Durant, the teams were tied 57-57 at half- time.
Bogut has had a rollercoaster ride with the Warriors since they recruited him in March after his inaugural season with the Sydney Kings, with the centre moving in and out of the defending champions’ starting line-up.
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