The first round series are all but done and dusted now. This means the Western Conference Semi Finals are already upon us. Lets dive into these match-ups and see what each team is bringing to their respective contest.
Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets
The Warriors are coming off a six-game series as they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers. Though they lost DeMarcus Cousins to a serious injury for the rest of the Playoffs, ex Warrior Andrew Bogut was recruited at the end of the regular season and has filled the gap nicely.
After blowing a 31 point lead in Game 5, the Warriors laid to rest any doubts about them as far as championship aspirations go. Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant had big games while 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala looked fresh. By far the best shooting team in the first round, the Warriors are peaking nicely.
The Rockets will be looking forward to a rematch of last years Conference Finals. After coming through a five match series against the Jazz relatively unscathed, they will look to up the ante on both ends against the Warriors.
James Harden was his usual chipper self through the first round while Chris Paul has knocked off any rust he had leading into the playoffs.
Individual match-ups will be the key to this series for both teams. The Warriors defense will need to improve from their first round match-up where they conceded 114 points a game. Containing Harden will be at the top of Steve Kerr’s list.
Thompson will likely be given the job of marking the league’s most prolific scorer. The match-up at center will also be important for the Warriors. Andrew Bogut showed a lot of strong play against the Clippers but will need to be at his best against All-NBA caliber center Clint Capela.
The Rockets don’t have the horses to mark Durant like they did last year, but will back themselves to match up well everywhere else on the court. Capela will look to dominate a front court that lacks depth with Cousins and Damian Jones both gone for the season.
CP3’s match-up with Curry will also be key. Last year Paul more than held his own before his tragic game five injury. If the Rockets are to win this series they need to use their bench strength. Danuel House, Kenneth Faried and Austin Rivers will need to knock down shots to compete against Golden State’s championship experienced bench.
After winning Game 1, the Warriors appear to be in a good groove. Even after allowing their series with the Clippers to last a little too long, the Dubs still managed to win an ugly game on Sunday against the Rockets.
The worst part about all of this is for Houston is Durant, Curry, and Thompson combined to go 21-of-50 from the field (42 percent) and Golden State still won. However, the refs should crack down on some of the no-calls they let the Warriors get away with. As a result, some games could swing in Houston’s favor.
With that being said, Golden State should still reign supreme.
Warriors in seven games.