NBA: Can the Rockets Dethrone the Warriors?

Warriors in 5.

Jimmy Butler is going to the Minnesota Timberwolves to team with up Tom Thibodeau! That team with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins could give the Warriors trouble!

Warriors in 5.

LeBron James has a team that is reloaded. They have gotten younger, more athletic, and they can match up with the Warriors now!

Warriors in 5.

Paul George AND Carmelo Anthony are going to the Oklahoma City Thunder? They should have enough firepower to beat the Warriors.

Warriors in. . . 5?

The Chris Paul and James Harden duo, on paper, didn’t seem like a good fit schematically.

Can either play off the ball? Can Paul function in a fast paced offense with less ball control? Can Mike D’Antoni coach a strong personality?

As of now, all those questions seem moot. Both have thrived off ball with CP3 making a smooth transition. D’Antoni has staggered their minutes to essentially keep an elite lead guard on the floor at all times. After attempting to creep in the backdoor on the Clippers, you haven’t heard of any locker room rumblings regarding the Houston Rockets.

They reloaded in a nice fashion as well. They employ a lineup that requires all five players on the floor to be accounted for. They invested in long three-and-D type players to combat the Warriors patented “Death Lineup” of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. Players like PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, Trevor Ariza, and even Joe Johnson can help combat that lineup. D’Antoni even has Harden playing defense! All of this has culminated in Houston securing the number one overall seed as well as home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Oh, and those Warriors…the Rockets took the season series from them, 2-1.

Those same Rockets are 21-1 when Harden, Paul, Clint Capela all play together.

The playoffs are an entirely different animal. The Warriors know it, they sleep it, and walked through most of the season as if they were almost purposely keeping something in the tank.

The Rockets know it. Both Paul and Harden know their playoff performances leave something to be desired. Could this be the year they breakthrough and make it to the NBA Finals?

Warriors in 6. 

Photo from James Harden Twitter

 

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