Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Rockets built to beat Warriors, but defending champs take talks in stride

Rockets built to beat Warriors, but defending champs take talks in stride

Warriors have the slight edge here as they are the better defensive team, but Rockets can lock down when they need to as well.

It's fun to follow the NBA regular season and watch the best basketball players in the world do fantastic things, and the first two rounds of the playoffs have certainly had some thrilling moments. But he had never made it past the Conference Semifinals. "Timing can still get a little better with the ball, things like that, when you start to get so excited.I continue to get better, continue to get my timing right and continue to get back to the normal rotations, normal, you know, minutes that I'm out there playing, and hopefully won't look back". The late 80s Detroit Pistons finally knocked off the Boston Celtics, and then the early 90s Chicago Bulls eventually vanquished those Pistons.

The Western Conference has consistently outpaced the Eastern Conference in demand.

This year's Western Conference Finals features the top-seeded Houston Rockets taking on the second-seeded Golden State Warriors.

The Rockets were able to close out the series despite Harden, the front-runner for MVP, being under the weather. James spoke with ESPN after sweeping the Raptors about how much the Cavs needed time off. I don't think so. "Oh, I'm definitely about to get some rest".

But even for his Houston Rockets teammates, what they saw from him Tuesday night was on another level.

The Rockets run a revival of the ultimate two-man show with Chris Paul and James Harden posing as the league's most unexpected - yet lucrative - backcourt.

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Chris Paul made it clear that he's not playing just to make it to the Western Conference Finals but to win the 2018 National Basketball Association championship title.

"Not at all [ready to celebrate]".

"Know what I'm saying?" Not at all, not at all. "You've got to have guys like that if you're going to win".

"Boy, if James Harden has it going, CP has it going and these shooters have it going, we're going to be in for a classic battle".

The Rockets may have beaten the Warriors twice during the regular season, but Houston must be aware that every team's performance is different in the playoffs. Rudy Gobert turned in his best game of the series with 12 points, nine boards, and five blocks. The least expensive game of the series looks to be Game 2 in Houston, at $683, followed by Game 1 at Houston ($783). Golden State has a playoff record of 24-3 over the last two years. And who doesn't want that? Since Steve Kerr arrived as Warriors coach in 2014-15, Harden is 2-8 against the Warriors in the playoffs and 5-18 overall. "They are really trying to rethink their whole strategy" - here he bumps a table repeatedly with his hand for emphasis, getting excited -"because teams know they don't have a (expletive) clue".

Crystallizing Houston's most-overlooked player, Clint Capela, against Golden State's scant centers, could be this ring-driven roster's paramount piece in undermining the Warriors front and backcourt. The Rockets won the final matchup of the regular season. "If we played them that night, that's when we focused on them. A lot of our signings and what we do during the year is based on that".

"I'm hoping everybody is on top of their game".

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