With their backs up against the wall, many expected the Golden State Warriors to come out firing against the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. However, the defending champions struggled from the floor, trailed by as many as 17 points and were down 51-41 at halftime.
But as they’ve done so often during this current dynasty, the Warriors erupted in the third quarter. They opened with an 11-0 run to spark a dominant second half that made NBA history.
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). Golden State won by a final score of 115-86, allowing just nine points in the fourth quarter.
The record was previously held by the Los Angeles Lakers, who, coincidentally, outscored the Warriors by 37 points (73-36) in Game 3 of the 1973 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers won that game running away, 126-70, and took the series in five games.
It marks a second record the Lakers have lost during this year’s playoffs. The Rockets’ 50-point third quarter Game 4 of their first-round series with the Minnesota Timberwolves bested the 1987 Lakers.
Again, NBA history was made at the Warriors’ expense. The Lakers’ 49 points in the third quarter of Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinals matchup with the Warriors helped erase what was a seven-point deficit at halftime. Los Angeles ultimately hung on for a 125-116 victory.
Although the Lakers saw their record for most points in a third quarter of a playoff game slip away, they still hold the record for best overall quarter. In 1962, the Lakers, led by Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, scored 51 points in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of their Western Division Final against the Detroit Pistons.
On Saturday, the Warriors were led by Klay Thompson’s game-high 35 points. And with nine 3-pointers, he passed former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher for seventh on the all-time list of 3-pointers made in the NBA playoffs.
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