HOUSTON — Stephen Curry scored 40 points and the Golden State Warriors made it look easy against Houston, beating the Rockets, 115-80, on Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Warriors won the first two games by just 5 points combined. There would be no such drama in this one, with Curry leading them to a 26-point advantage in the second quarter.
Now the baby-faced MVP has Golden State just one victory away from its first trip to the NBA Finals since 1975. Game 4 is Monday night in Houston.
Curry was unstoppable, making seven 3-pointers to break the NBA record for most 3s in one postseason with 64.
MVP runner-up James Harden finished with 17 points behind 10-of-11 free throw shooting, but made just 3 of 16 shots as the Rockets dropped three straight for the first time all season. Dwight Howard, who played despite a knee injury suffered in Game 1, had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Draymond Green and Klay Thompson added 17 points apiece for the Warriors.
Curry had 37 points after three quarters and went to the bench for good with about 5½ minutes remaining after his seventh 3-pointer made it 103-73. He also had seven rebounds and five assists.
After coach Steve Kerr complained about turnovers in the last game, the Warriors had just one before halftime to help them run away with this one early.
The Rockets have rebounded from double-digit deficits in three of their eight wins this postseason, but this time they fell into a hole way too big to overcome. Especially when Harden’s shots weren’t falling.
The Warriors were in control of this one from the start and were up by 12 at the end of the first quarter. But things got out of hand quickly when Curry heated up.
A pair of free throws by Harden cut the lead to 9 points with about six minutes left in the quarter when Curry took over. He scored the next 6 points as part of a 16-5 run where he scored all but 2 of the Warriors points to push the lead to 54-34.
Curry broke the record for 3s in the playoffs on a long one from the top of the key that put Golden State up, 49-32, about 4½ minutes before halftime. Reggie Miller set the previous mark of 58 in 2000.
Curry did a little bit of everything in that span. There was the finger-roll layup, a bank shot, seven free throws, and even a pair of rebounds to get Golden State rolling.
Houston couldn’t do anything right on either end of the court for most of the second quarter, and made just one field goal and missed six shots in the six minutes before halftime.
The Warriors led by 25 at halftime and Houston opened the third quarter strong, using a 13-6 spurt to get within 68-50. Thompson made a free throw after that before Curry took control once again, scoring the next 5 points, including a 3-pointer under heavy pressure, to push it to 75-50 midway through the third quarter.
Curry pumped his fist and screamed to no one in particular as several of his teammates raised three fingers in the air.
He wrapped up the third quarter in much the same way, scoring Golden State’s last 5 points, capped by a 3-pointer to make it 92-61 entering the fourth quarter.