I know, they've won a championship two out of the past three years, and last playoffs lost only one game. The Thunder went on to take a 3-1 series lead, greatly threatening the Warriors' historic 73-win season.
The upcoming matchup between the Warriors and Rockets is one of the most anticipated Conference Finals in National Basketball Association history. But while the point guard only took two weeks off in 2016, he rested for almost six weeks this time around. Houston's two leaders, James Harden and Chris Paul, are both trying to overcome past postseason letdowns.
Among Golden State playoff opponents since 2015, Houston has posted the highest point differential (plus-8.5) and compiled the best offensive efficiency rating (115.5).
If Golden State goes up 1-0 on the Rockets, there's a chance Kerr would turn to his ultimate weapon early to try to put the Rockets away. The Warriors have been able to cruise through the past two season without really feeling threatened, but they can not afford to take this Rockets team lightly if they are going to win another championship. He has a truly ridiculous impact on the Warriors' offense; Curry's incredible shooting gravity tears apart opposing defenses who can not risk leaving him open for a second once he crosses halfcourt. Sure, they are technically subjective rankings, but it'd be hard to make a case against that order.
Now the Warriors rank as the top defensive squad in the play-offs just ahead of the Rockets. They have the only backcourt in the league that can compare pretty favorably with the Warriors, combining two All-NBA guards in Chris Paul and James Harden.
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Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (42) celebrates a made basket with guard Jaylen Brown (7) during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sunday, May 13, 2018, in Boston. That changed when they signed Durant, with whom they've gone 24-3 in the playoffs.
Harden has often said this season that Capela is the player that makes everything else work for the Rockets, and said Friday that he's undoubtedly developed into one of the league's best centers. With so many scoring options surrounding him, it becomes almost impossible to double team LeBron due to his superb court vision.
That's how long it has been since the defending champs started a series on the road. Clint Capela seems to get better every night and Eric Gordon is one of the NBA's best sixth men, but they are not the All-Stars that the Warriors can throw at you when their MVPs are on the bench.
Iguodala added that even when the series shifts to Oakland the Warriors can't afford to get comfortable against this Rockets team.