Los Angeles (AFP) – Stephen Curry sparked a third quarter surge as the Golden State Warriors wrapped up a series victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday to advance to the NBA Western Conference finals.
Curry finished with 28 points as the reigning NBA champions ran out 113-104 winners to complete a 4-1 series victory and set up a showdown with the top-seeded Houston Rockets.
Kevin Durant had 24 points while Klay Thompson added 23 points. Draymond Green had 19 points with 14 rebounds and nine assists.
New Orleans, who had prevented a clean sweep with a victory in game four on Sunday, had produced a battling first half performance to trail by only 59-56 at the break.
But with Curry to the fore, the Warriors exploded with a devastating burst of scoring early in the third period that the Pelicans had no response to.
Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Curry were all involved, and suddenly Golden State had taken a double-digit lead.
Curry found his touch from long range to drain a couple of majestic three-pointers, including one effort which dropped in to make it 81-60.
With the home crowd at the Oracle Arena roaring them on, it looked as if the only question would be the size of the Golden State victory margin.
The Warriors had stretched their lead to 26 points at one stage of the third, and closed out the quarter leading by 20 at 95-75.
Golden State started the fourth quarter in the same fashion, and had quickly extended their lead to 105-82.
There was a late scare for Steve Kerr’s side however as the Pelicans staged a late rally, stitching together an 18-2 spurt to close within seven points at 107-100 with 1:43 left.
Draymond Green helped steady the ship however with a fadeaway and a driving layup to restore the Warriors double-digit cushion.
The Warriors will face Houston in game one of the Western Conference finals next Monday.