Its finally here. The match-up most people predicted for the Western Conference Finals, the defending champions Golden State Warriors vs the Houston Rockets. The winner moves on to the NBA Finals to face the Eastern Championship team.
It's not just the fans who are excited, but also the players on each team. According to NBA.com, they are excited to face each other. Rocket's Center, Clint Capela, expressed his thoughts saying "I’m real excited, This (Warriors) team is going to be hard, it’s going to be a fight. There’s going to be a lot of adjustments after every game. It’s going to be a chess game. Of course, we’re going to be ready. They’ve been to The Finals three straight years. So we’re just excited. Everybody's excited about it. I’m sure all the NBA fans are excited about it, too.” Warriors Forward Draymond Green also expresses his joy: “Now you’ve got to play the game. You wanted us, now you’ve got us."
Funny enough, these two teams almost do the exact same thing: score in the paint and score from 3-point territory, but they go about them in different ways. In an ESPN article, the Warriors were third in passes per game in the regular season, the Rockets were 30th. The Warriors were 20th in isolation per game, the Rockets were first. The Warriors were first in off-ball screens per game, the Rockets were 30th. Another interesting fact is, since 1973-74, there has never been a series featuring two offenses scoring more than 112 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors ranked first in offense at 112.24 points per 100, the Rockets were second at 112.23. Since everybody loves to see teams compete at a high intensity level, you can expect wild screaming on each home court every time a team makes a run or if the game is close.
For the Rockets, their 'Big Three' consists of Chris Paul, James Harden as their main offensive players, along with Clint Capela being the defensive force. The Warriors have the 'Fantastic Four,' Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. All of them are offensive threats, with Green being the more defensive of the four. They each have great three pointer teammates and are not afraid in any situation. Similar but different and, overall, it's amazing to see.
The Warriors are attempting to conquer the West for a fourth straight season, but this will be their first West finals without home-court advantage. Doing it against a team specifically designed to take them down just adds to a battle wrought with connections. As the teams meet face-to-face soon, let's hope that this series lives up to the hype. We don't want this to end up like the Heat vs Hawks in the 2009 playoffs.