Warriors forget to guard James Harden on opening possession of Game 1

Rex Christensen
May 15, 2018

However, the National Basketball Association playoffs format is still heavily flawed so we get the two best teams playing each other before the Finals. But you want it again because it's an unbelievable feeling.

From Jose Altuve to Justin Verlander to George Springer, the Astros were decked in their Rockets finest as they left Minute Maid Park after Sunday's 6-1 win against the Texas Rangers. He also is playing over 20 minutes a game right now. That's not the case heading into Monday's contest.

"There's no doubt that the way that we're seeing today in the modern National Basketball Association is the way of the future", he says.

The teams met three times in the regular season, with Houston posting a 122-121 win on October 17 at Oakland, the Warriors taking a 124-114 victory on January 4 at Houston and the Rockets prevailing 116-108 on January 20 in Houston.

Houston's best hope hinged on the fact that Curry might not be close to 100 percent in the Western Conference Finals.

After being ousted from the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs in three of the past four seasons, Houston added star guard Chris Paul and three-point threat P.J. Tucker, then watched Swiss big man Clint Capela enjoy a career-best season with 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds a game.

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All of that, however, probably won't be enough for them to get by Golden State.

While I don't hate the Warriors, though, I can't say I have any special affinity for them like I once did, or really feel much one way or the other about them. "But I do like who we are, what we've done and where we can go".

Looking at the numbers, the Rockets had a net rating of +8.6 this season thanks to their top-ranked offense (114.7) and sixth-ranked defense (106.1). They are loaded. They are well coached... Paul is still one of the best defensive guards in the league: he has some of the quickest hands in the league and makes up for his relative lack of size with a strong lower frame and an nearly unhealthy amount of competitive spirit.

Monday's game will be a new experience for the Warriors. It's hard to believe that anyone will prevent them from winning a third title during that span, and that includes the league-leader in wins. It will be the first time in 15-consecutive playoff series they begin a series on the road, the last time coming in the 2014 Western Conference First Round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

These are both tough series to call, but such is the playoffs.

"We were the best team in the league all year but that's not our goal. They came in and got one against us and it definitely changes the tone".

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