The concession, of course, was that if the Warriors and Rockets faced each other in the long-anticipated and almost-inevitable Western Conference finals, the series would start in Houston. The Rockets are among one of the favorites to win the entire competition, but that Warriors are back on their game. Four years, to be exact. You can just feel it in practice. While they had success against Golden State in-season, the playoffs are another beast altogether If they were going to get it done this time, they needed everyone to bring their "A" game.
Harden has been spectacular in all of the Rockets' series openers this postseason, scoring 41 points in Game 1 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 44 points in Game 1 against the Utah Jazz and 41 points against the Warriors. It was Houston's first step in trying to dethrone the Warriors.
The Warriors are underdogs for the first time in a game with Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. Warriors coach Steve Kerr certainly has reason to stick with it. "It left a sour taste in our mouths, the way we lost".
Recently, though, a friend of mine who reliably has the best National Basketball Association takes pointed out that, in constantly harking back to 2015-16, I was assuming that the Warriors ever could reasonably reach those heights again, with or without Durant.
With the series starting in Houston, the Rockets crowd will be ready to go (hopefully) for the 8 p.m. tip and a fast start by the Rockets should have them going wild for their guys. That's been kind of the M.O. of this team. The Cavs are coming off a four game sweep of the Toronto Raptors, defeating the "We the North" squad for the third straight season in the playoffs.
The Warriors struggled with sustaining motivation throughout the season. "It's time to play".
The Cavs and Celtics are meeting in the Conference finals for the second year in a row, but the teams are nearly both completely different than last year's lineups. Houston is good, but tonight's Game 1 feels like a must-win for Clutch City.
"It's not the norm, but I like it", Livingston explained. Otherwise, if he gets the space, KD will make you pay, either with perimeter scoring or with a kick-out pass to the bevy of shooters waiting to huck a three-pointer. "They came in and got one against us and it definitely changes the tone". The only member of the Houston Rockets that surpasses that is Trevor Ariza who has a sterling 97.0 rating. If things going according to plan, Capela will defend the Warriors' smaller players well and dominate the paint on offense as he done all playoffs long. Every franchise has money to spend; you can't exactly penalize one for going after the best players they can. This means that millions of fans across the nation are going to be having a lot more fun with their sports watching.
While all eyes were on slowing down Curry, Durant had an incredible game, finishing with 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Against the Raptors, Lebron got a big boost from Kevin Love and Tristian Thompson, that's right I said it. "You've got to be careful with that".
"Obviously, we know what's ahead of us", Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute said. It follows us on the road.
They finished with the league's best record this season at 65-17, but were somehow even better when all three of Harden, Paul and Clint Capela played, boasting a ridiculous mark of 50-5. But it's the playoffs.