Game 5 win on Thursday, was a game-time decision on Monday, but the Rockets but the Rockets reportedly concluded that he just couldn't play through the injury.
Golden State scored 33 points in the third quarter for the second straight game while Houston managed just 15 points on Monday night after it scored 16 in the third in Game 6. With the possibility of playing this game without Chris Paul, Harden might need to explode for 40 points or more. Harden finished the game with 32 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.
Klay Thompson led the way with 35 points on absurd 9-of-14 shooting from deep, a performance reminiscent of his 2016 Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With Paul wearing warm-ups and watching from the bench, the Rockets roared out to a 17-point lead after the first quarter and led by 10 at halftime.
The Warriors were also forcing turnovers, 21.3 percent of Rockets possessions ended with a turnover (more than one in five trips down the court). He played 46 minutes the following game but still came up big with 46 points to send the series to a seventh and deciding game.
Paul's status will loom large over Game 7, but it may not mean anything if the Warriors finally play up to their potential.
Houston head coach Mike D'Atoni spoke to reporters this evening and provided an update on his star point guard.
"So you never want to go to Game 7, but when you're down 3-2, you definitely want to do".
By outscoring the Rockets, 64-25, the Warriors' 39-point difference became the highest in the second half of a playoff game in the shot clock era (since the 1954-55 season). Based on how the last two games had gone - with Houston coming out on the winning end of two close games - it would have been fair to think that this might be it for the Warriors. It's no coincidence that Curry and Thompson both had a huge game in Paul's absence. Curry was the engine, particularly in the second half. Here's what you need to know about Warriors and Rockets going into the Western Conference Finals. However, Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters Saturday night the team is "operating under the assumption that he will not play".
Golden State heads back to their fourth straight National Basketball Association finals.