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Golden State vs. Houston

The Rockets are obsessed with beating Golden State.

May 09, 2018 - 12:22 pm

With Houston clinching their spot in the conference finals first, it was down to Golden State to follow suit and get the same amount of rest. They knew what was at stake. And while Draymond Green went with a “long-ass” text to Kevin Durant after Game 3, there were no texts from Steve Kerr before Game 5. “I dial people on my rotary phone. Nobody seems to answer. Nobody answers a home line anymore.” 

But the truth is, he didn’t need to tell anyone. They knew what they had to do and they did it: 113-104. Steph Curry: 28 points. Kevin Durant: 24 points. Klay Thompson: 23 points. And Draymond Green with a classic Draymond Green stat line: 19 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks. 

Last night, Curry played his most minutes since coming back from injury and while he says he’s still knocking off some rust, Kevin Durant saw something else: ''I think coach did a great job though of just giving him a little bit here and there and tonight really just letting him go. You see when you let the dog off the leash what happens.''

But that doesn’t mean New Orleans made it easy on them. Every time it looked like Golden State was about to put the game away, New Orleans came back. Golden State got up 50-40 in the second quarter and it looked like the game would be over at halftime. Until the Pelicans went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. 

That pretty much sums up the Pelicans season – just when you think it’s over and they should quit, like when Boogie went down, they don’t. They come back harder. And they did it again in the fourth quarter, down 23 with 8 minutes to go, they cut it to 7 with just over two minutes left, but Golden State closed it out.

Series over. Press conferences begin. And Draymond was holding court. Let’s start with Green being asked about Rockets big man Clint Capela saying in January that Houston was better than Golden State.

And then Draymond got going on Houston’s “obsession” with the Warriors. 

I love that. There is definitely a big brother-little brother dynamic there. He’s making it very, very clear that the Rockets are good, but there’s a difference between the two teams. 

The Warriors were built to be the Warriors. The Rockets were built to beat the Warriors. This Houston team is a response to Golden State, so of course they’d be obsessed with Golden State. 

Draymond was also asked by Chris Haynes if he wanted to face the Rockets.

I know what he’s saying and I’m not going to say that Draymond isn’t telling the truth. I completely believe him when he says he wants a championship and he doesn’t care who is in the way, but you can’t tell me he isn’t fired up that the Rockets are the ones who are in the way. Just look at the way he handled those questions about the Rockets. This isn’t just some other team in their way. This is the team he wanted to be in their way. 

Draymond is a juice and energy player. As Bob Myers says, he needs the high stakes to play his best. And now the stakes just got raised. 

I’m not saying that the Warriors wouldn’t have been fine playing the Jazz in the Western Conference Finals, but I am saying they wanted the Rockets. Just like everyone else on the planet, the Warriors wanted a Rockets-Warriors matchup. 

Because they want to make a point to the Rockets. That point being: you are good, but you are not us. You are not on our level. The way for the Rockets to become the champs is to beat the champs. And the way for the champs to remind the Rockets who they are, is for the champs to beat the Rockets. And if the press conferences nearly a week before Game 1 are this good, I can’t wait for the series itself. Let’s get it on! 

Golden State has owned the Rockets in the postseason in recent years. More specifically, Golden State has owned Chris Paul and James Harden in the postseason in recent years.  Harden is 2-8 against the Warriors since Steve Kerr arrived. Paul is 3-9 during that same period. Both these guys have been embarrassed by the Warriors in the postseason.  Neither one of them has even been competitive against Golden State, so they figured the only chance each would have, would be to join forces. And so far, so good. Best record in the league in the regular season. Top overall seed. And very little resistance so far in the postseason. 

Fact is, none of it means a damn thing. Not unless just getting to the conference finals is good enough for Paul. And it shouldn’t be. These guys were built to beat Golden State. These guys are obsessed with beating Golden State. Everything they have done has been with that in mind. And here we are. Here we freaking are. Let’s see what you got. Let’s get it on.