The Houston Rockets edged the reigning champion Golden State Warriors 98-94 on Thursday to move within one win of reaching the NBA Finals.
The Rockets, who led the league with 65 regular-season wins, took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals and with one more victory can deny the Warriors a fourth straight trip to the championship series.
Golden State, whose streak of 16 straight home playoff wins was halted by the Rockets on Tuesday, will try to fend off elimination when they host Game Six on Saturday.
The winner of the series will face either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals starting on 31 May.
The Cavaliers, who have played the Warriors in each of the last three finals, trail the Celtics 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals.
Houston point guard Chris Paul scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half as the Western Conference heavyweights went toe-to-toe.
The Warriors led by one going into the fourth quarter, but Eric Gordon scored 10 of his 24 points off the bench for Houston in the final frame to help the Rockets turn the tide.
Gordon drained a three-pointer to put Houston up by four points with 1:21 remaining, and he came up with a steal on Golden State's last possession to seal the win.
Houston's Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden struggled from the floor but finished with 19 points.
The only downside for Houston was an apparent hamstring injury to Paul that saw him limp off in the final minute.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 29 points.
The Rockets honored victims and survivors of the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School on 18 May before the game.
The Rockets provided tickets for more than 300 Santa Fe High seniors, along with some staff and first responders, to attend the game and players wore a commemorative patch on their uniforms.
The school's choir sang the national anthem before the contest.
A teenage gunman killed eight students and two teachers at the high school south of Houston, injuring 13 others
"I played on that football field in Santa Fe," Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta told the Houston Chronicle. "We just wanted to step up. We're just trying to do our little piece and make it special for all these special people in Galveston County and Santa Fe."
Updated Date: May 25, 2018 10:35:19 IST