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Gordon leads Rockets over Warriors 98-94 to take series lead

Chris Paul's grit and veteran leadership have pushed the Golden State Warriors to the brink of elimination.

Now the Houston Rockets must wait to see if his injured leg is strong enough to help them take one last step to the NBA Finals.

Eric Gordon came off the bench to score 24 points and his steal on Golden State's last possession secured a 98-94 victory Thursday night that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals. But the victory came with a cost, as Paul had to leave the game in the final minute with a right hamstring injury that could keep him out of Game 6.

"His spirits aren't great," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He wanted to be out there, and for sure he's worried ... we'll see tomorrow how it goes."

Paul was receiving treatment after the game and did not speak to reporters.

The Rockets head to Oakland for Game 6 on Saturday night a win away from knocking off the defending champions and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1994-95.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points for the Warriors, who lost in Game 5 of a playoff series for just the second time since 2015. Just like Cleveland in the East, a run of three straight trips to the championship round is on the verge of ending.

"We haven't been in this position before ... so it's a chapter we need to figure out and finish the story," Stephen Curry said.

The Rockets won a second straight defensive struggle between the two potent offenses, leaving the Warriors a loss from missing the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.

Draymond Green made a 3-pointer with just over minute left to get Golden State within one. Harden, who was 0 for 11 on 3s, missed his last one with less than 30 seconds left, giving the Warriors the ball back.

Curry missed a floater and Trevor Ariza grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 10 seconds left. But he made just one of two free throws to give the Warriors another chance.

But Gordon came up with his steal when Green lost control in the lane and added two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to put it away.

Green was asked what was supposed to happen on the play.

"We was supposed to score," he said. "I lost the ball ... not much more to it than that."

Harden scoffed at a reporter who questioned him about his struggles from long range in the last two games, where he's gone a combined 3 for 22.

"Who cares," he said. "I'm just missing shots, but we're winning."

Klay Thompson shook off a knee injury that had his status for this game in question to score 23 points and Curry added 22. A bruised left knee kept Andre Iguodala out for the second straight game, and Kevon Looney started in his place.

After losing Game 1 of the series, the Rockets made the best of home-court advantage this time, thrilling a sellout crowd that included Justin Timberlake, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt and rapper Travis Scott.

It's Houston's second straight win in the series after snapping Golden State's NBA playoff-record, 16-game home winning streak with a 95-92 victory on Tuesday night.

Golden State led by one to start the fourth before Paul got going, scoring seven points to power a 10-5 run that gave the Rockets an 81-77 lead with about 9 1/2 minutes left.

Thompson made a 3-pointer after that and then officials reviewed Paul's first basket of the quarter and ruled he got it off after the shot clock expired, leaving the Warriors ahead 80-79.

The Rockets were clinging to a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Durant fouled Gordon on a 3-point attempt, losing one of his shoes in the process. Gordon made all three free throws to start a 7-2 spurt that extended the lead to 88-82 midway through the quarter.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr was unsure Thursday if Iguodala would be able to return for Game 6. "He's dying to play, but he's not healthy enough," Kerr said. "We'll just continue to take it day to day."... Curry made four free throws to tie Rick Barry for most free throws made in the playoffs in franchise history with 378. ... Golden State had 18 turnovers.

Rockets: Clint Capela had 12 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double this postseason. ... Houston made 13 of 43 3-pointers, led by four from Gordon.

SANTA FE STRONG

The Rockets honored the 10 people killed in last week's school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, before the game, with the school's choir singing the national anthem and team owner Tilman Fertitta wearing a "Santa Fe Strong" T-shirt, before Houston scored the game's first six points in a first half where the team led by as many as 11.

Houston also wore rectangular patches on its jerseys that read: "Santa Fe HS," to remember those affected by the tragedy.

"We wanted to come out and give them light, put smiles on their faces (and) clear their minds a little bit," Harden said.

UP NEXT

After Game 6 on Saturday, the Rockets would host Game 7 on Monday if necessary.

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  • As Republicans struggled again to gather a majority in the House this week for an immigration reform bill, President Donald Trump on Sunday seemed to hint that the effort might be a waste of time, blaming Democrats for their opposition to GOP plans, and demanding major changes in how the U.S. legal system deals with those illegally entering the United States. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came,” the President tweeted on Sunday, making the argument that illegal immigrants deserve no legal standing in court, no due process after being detained. But the U.S. Supreme Court has held the opposite, ruling in a 1982 case that “illegal aliens…may claim the benefit of the Equal Protection Clause, which provides that no State shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'” “Summarily removing individuals with no opportunity for a hearing, even if they might have viable legal objections to their removal, would likely violate due process,” said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas Law School. That idea was one of a number of tweets this weekend on immigration from the President: We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2018 It’s very sad that Nancy Pelosi and her sidekick, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, want to protect illegal immigrants far more than the citizens of our country. The United States cannot stand for this. We wants safety and security at our borders! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2018 House Republicans could easily pass a Bill on Strong Border Security but remember, it still has to pass in the Senate, and for that we need 10 Democrat votes, and all they do is RESIST. They want Open Borders and don’t care about Crime! Need more Republicans to WIN in November! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2018 Mr. Trump’s comments came as House Republicans were still preparing a vote this week on a backup immigration reform bill – but no date for the vote had been set, as GOP leaders have struggled to corral a majority on the issue. In Congress, Mr. Trump’s idea to deny due process rights to illegal aliens landed with a big thud in both parties. “Removing due process from immigration cases is yet another example of Trump’s extreme immigration policy and disregard for the rule of law,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), quoting the text of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. “Due process is a bedrock American legal principle,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). Democrats spent much of the weekend trying to focus more attention on the effort to reunite children of illegal immigrant families, who were separated from their parents under a Trump Administration effort to deter illegal immigrants from trying to cross the U.S. southern border. 'Enough is enough.' We must continue to protest, to speak out, and keep working until all families are reunited who have been torn apart by Trump's heartless immigration policies. pic.twitter.com/J3qlrVveHA — Mike Capuano (@mikecapuano) June 24, 2018 @RepTedDeutch speaking against Trump Administration immigration family separation policy. @CBSMiami pic.twitter.com/VSpodc1f9W — Carey (@ccoddcbs4news) June 24, 2018 But others on Capitol Hill saw the current immigration debate in much a different light. “America is heading in the direction of another Harpers Ferry,” said Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a strong backer of the President’s calls for tough action on illegal immigration, referring to John Brown’s raid in 1859, in a bid to start a slave revolt. “After that comes Ft. Sumter,” King said in a tweet, referring to the first shots of the Civil War.  
  • A male pedestrian was hit and killed Saturday night while crossing the street in Tulsa. An officer at the scene tells KRMG the auto-pedestrian collision happened around 11:10 p.m. in the westbound lanes of 71st Street near Trenton Avenue. “A black truck comes through and strikes him,” the officer said.  “Then continues on westbound and we were not able to get a good description of the vehicle.” The pedestrian was transported to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead.  As of early Sunday morning, the victim hasn't been identified. KRMG’s told the scene was closed to traffic until around 2 a.m. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.  
  • A 37-year-old Broken Arrow man faces a long list of sexual-related charges in connection with having an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.  Court records show Larado Smith was charged on Friday with 12 counts of second-degree rape and three counts of forcible sodomy.  Tulsa World reports the sexual acts apparently happened at the girl's home when her parents were not home.  When police found out about what was going on, a sting was set up. They posed as the girl over social media.    Smith showed up at the teenager's home and was arrested.  He has been booked into the Tulsa County Jail.  
  • As President Donald Trump this week threatened $200 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports, and then warned Europe that he would slap a 20 percent tariff on imported automobiles, members of both parties Congress accused the administration of starting a trade war which could cause collateral economic damage across the United States. The differences were on display at a hearing Wednesday with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who took a bipartisan tongue lashing on a recent round of tariffs levied on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and Europe. “We’re picking winners and losers,” argued Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who said those tariffs were already hurting businesses in his home state. “Probably resulting – in my view – in far more jobs being lost than being gained,” Toomey told Ross, citing a very well-known Pennsylvania company that could find it less expensive to move jobs from the U.S. to Canada. Sen. @PatToomey tells Ross that $KHZ moved some @HeinzKetchup_US manufacturing to Pennsylvania from Canada – but could move back now that Canada plans to tax American ketchup as retaliation for steel and aluminum tariffs. — Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) June 20, 2018 Almost every Senator on the panel had a story of a small business that was feeling the pinch due to Trump Administration tariffs, impacting all sorts of agricultural products, as well as manufacturing, big and small. “Do you think we’re in a trade war right now?” asked Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “Because I do,” as Cantwell rattled off farm products that were losing markets because of retaliatory tariff measures. Ross downplayed the cost of higher imported steel and aluminum, basically making the case that economic hardships were being overplayed. “It’s a fraction of a penny on a can of Campbell’s soup, it’s a fraction on a can of Budweiser, it’s a fraction on a can of Coke,” Ross said. That did not please the Senator from the state of Coca-Cola. “Although a couple of pennies on a can is not much, a couple pennies times a billion is lots,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). “We’re hit harder than any other state by the Canadian retaliatory tariffs,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), warning the Trump Administration against tariffs on imported automobiles, as GOP Senators labeled such actions a tax on consumers. “Steel prices are going up – not just for foreign steel subject to tariffs, but also for U.S. steel,” complained Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “Mexico’s buying their wheat from Argentina and their corn from Brazil,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), as he told Ross that Kansas wheat exports were encountering troubles because of new retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, bringing bad economic news on the farm report. Ross simply told Senators if other countries put new tariffs on U.S. exports, that was out of his control. “We have no control over what another country does in retaliation,” Ross said. The bipartisan complaints clearly had no impact, as by Friday, President Trump was on Twitter, issuing new threats against European auto imports. Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the U.S. & its great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2018 As Democrats registered their opposition, they also couldn’t help but note the oddity of a Republican President going against what’s been a bedrock belief of the GOP. “I feel like I’ve gone down a rabbit hole,” said Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO), who said she found it hard to believe the party of free trade now had a President in office who was doing the exact opposite. “In a chaotic and frankly incompetent manner, you’re picking winners and losers,” McCaskill told Ross. But for the President, this is about re-setting trade deals, which he says were tilted against the United States. #President #Trump #speaking in #Duluth, #Minnesota: We want fair & reciprocal #trade not stupid trade that we've had for years. We've been ripped off by all of our friends. And frankly the do a much better job than our enemies. #MAGA #economy #POTUS #TrumpTrain — Leanne Howard Kenney (@neeneebucket) June 21, 2018 “As far as trade is concerned with other countries, we want fair and reciprocal trade, we don’t want stupid trade like we had for so long,” the President said at a rally in Minnesota. “Remember the world reciprocal,” Mr. Trump said. “We have been ripped off by almost every country on Earth, our friends and our enemies.” “But those days are over,” the President said to cheers from the crowd. But while they’re cheering Mr. Trump on the stump, at the U.S. Capitol, they’re worried about a trade war. “We’re getting into a war that’s going to cost lots of billions of dollars,” Isakson warned.
  • There was a big setback for the group challenging the tax hikes to pay for teacher pay raises on Friday. The Oklahoma Supreme Court said the petition from Oklahoma Taxpayers United is invalid. Oklahoma's highest court handed down the ruling Friday morning and ordered that the initiative not appear on an election ballot. Justices said the wording of the petition is misleading and those who sign it don't know what they would vote on. The Legislature earlier this year voted to hike taxes on cigarettes, fuel and energy production.