Houston finished with the regular season with an NBA-best 65-17 record, seven games better than Golden State. That and a buck will buy the Rockets a sandwich off the Dollar Menu at Micky D’s.
Despite the superior record, the Warriors are favored to win the Western Conference Finals (-185 at Vegas’ Westgate SuperBook), and I expect the defending champions to brush off the regular season warriors in six games.
Why I Favor Golden State
If I bought into intangibles as much as others do, I’d give Houston a better shot to win this series. The Warriors have been to the Finals three straight years, winning two titles, and the Rockets haven’t been in that position since 1995. But I don’t buy into the whole “this means more to Houston” notion. Golden State will show up to play with as much passion as their opponents, I have no doubt.
This is series is going to come down to match-ups, talent, and execution, three areas I favor the Warriors. James Harden is as talented offensively as any player in the league. I expect him to score 30 points per game in the series. Clint Capela is one of the best centers in the NBA, and I see no reason to believe he won’t get his 20 and 10 each night. CP3 is a veteran leader who will get his.
But how will Houston defend Kevin Durant? And if they do, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will come through. Not only is Golden State as deep as the Rockets, their big three (Curry, Thompson, Durant) is better than the Harden, Capela, CP3 trio.
I’m not saying Houston can’t win this series. They definitely can. But unless guys like Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker, and Eric Gordon, come up huge, which certainly isn’t impossible, Golden State will win this series in six games.