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It's Warriors over Rockets - odds

12 May 2018

They have been led by the steady play of Chris Paul, who is coming off of an efficient 41-point game five victory against the Jazz.

The defensive success of Houston should be pointed out as well after it finished No. 6 in defensive rating this season.

The Warriors fought injury woes all season with star guard Stephen Curry missing over 20 games, but he returned in Round 2 without missing a beat to help Golden State do away with the feisty New Orleans Pelicans. Knowing we've got a couple of championships here in these last few years. "Chris is the obvious difference in their team now", Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Thursday after practice.

The Warriors advance to play the top-seeded Houston Rockets in what has always been an anticipated Western Conference finals matchup - with a Finals feel, perhaps - and one Golden State will start on the road Monday night.

In March - amid a bad run of injuries - the Warriors threw in the towel in the battle for the No. 1 seed. The two-time MVP averaged 19.6 points on 13.4 shots in four playoff games, and he should be back to the Curry of old after getting another week of rest in between the second round and the conference finals. Houston's best output was 113 in Game 3. If Golden State can disrupt his rhythm, the Warriors should be able to control the series. Both teams had their full allotment of stars on January 20, when the Rockets beat the Warriors 116-108.

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I understand why Durant feels that way, though.

They'll open on the road on Monday, May 14 (May 15 in Manila), against the Rockets, who supplanted the Warriors as top seeds in the West this season with a league-leading 65 regular-season wins. They are also third in steals with 8.4 per game. But Paul, who matched his scoring high for this playoff run, hit a pull-up jumper and found Trevor Ariza for a 3-pointer to put the Rockets back up by double digits and they never looked back. If that stays the same, the Rockets won't be able to guard them.

"To me, the hardest championship is the first one, as an individual player and as a team, because you don't know - you don't quite know if you can do it".

Is Houston a threat?

Kerr believes the Warriors have the proper mentality to meet the Rockets' challenge head-on.

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Houston wins series 4-1. "Our guys have rings", Kerr said.

These Warriors truly are elite sandbaggers. He also lost 4-2 to the Thunder while with Los Angeles, and his Clippers had a 3-1 lead in 2015 before Houston won the next three games.

While I expect this series will be close initially, I think the Warriors are too dominant offensively will ultimately end up winning in six games. When a team plays against Boston, they are playing against Celtic pride and history, which makes them such tough competitors.

But the "appropriate fear" is built into this series' schedule. "They're going to be a tough matchup". Once you get the first one, there's a little bit of house money.

No, the goal seems to be two wins and a demoralizing start to the series for the Rockets - don't just negate home-court advantage, swing the advantage your way.

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Let's start with the basics. "What'd he say? Yeah, you've got to play the game now", Green said with a laugh. Thompson is one of the league's best shooters and we expect Andre Iguodala to spend a lot of time defending Harden (maybe vice versa as well). "The rest of that stuff will figure itself out". "(Paul) gives (the Rockets) a new dimension they haven't had. Boston has won four of the previous seven meetings, but Cleveland has won the last two - including the East finals last season.

It's Warriors over Rockets - odds