2019 NBA Western Conference Semifinals Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets
With the Rockets on the cusp of taking an eventual 3-2 lead late in Game 5 of last year’s Western Conference matchup, Hall of Fame Point God Chris Paul tweaked his hamstring. He then told ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, he’d be ready to go by Game 6 while jumping into his Maybach. That never happened as Paul went on to miss the rest of the series, and the Warriors swept the last two games, including Game 7 when the Rockets built brick homes across Houston on their way to an NBA-record 27 missed 3s. Fast-forward a year later, and a healthy H-Town squad powered by Most Valuable Player/Beard enters the Western Conference Semifinals looking to knock out a Warriors team that lost free-agent acquisition “Boogie” Cousins while narrowly escaping the scrappy Clippers in the First Round.
Why Houston Wins: This is the same team that should’ve been in the NBA Finals in 2018, the only difference is this Rockets squad has more firepower than the previous. James Harden is still the best Offensive Player of the this Generation, toying with defenders and finding ways to control the game while creating scoring opportunities for his teammates. Chris Paul still stands as one of the best point guards and closers in basketball. Clint Capela continues anchoring the paint, slamming on opponent’s heads every time he rises up for an oop.Eric Gordon is a cheat code when he’s on, bullying smaller defenders on his way to the rim and drilling shots from distance. And the Rockets’ bench got deeper, as Screwston’s very own Danuel House has become a knockdown shooter/tough defender and Kenneth Faried brings energy to a potent second unit. Houston has the blueprint for winning this series, and both the “Splash Bros” Klay Thompson/Steph Curry are coming into the matchup with ankle injuries suffered in Game 6 of the First Round, the Basketball God’s have to look out for the I-45 Boys.
Why Golden State Wins: The best player in basketball, Kevin Durant, resides in Oakland. After hitting the Clippers up for 45 in Game 5 of the First Round, he tucked em’ in the casket, dealing the Clips 60 in the next outing -- the closeout game. There’s nothing you can do to stop Kevin Durant when he’s on. Double teams will get you killed. There’s nobody who can contest his shot. Honestly, it’s just hopeless. With that said, the two best shooters in NBA history (Steph and Klay) and two of the NBA’s best glue guys (Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala) also fill out the Warriors’ roster. When Mistah Fab’s Funky Bunch is firing on all cylinders, who stops them??
Who Wins: Rockets in 7. The reign is over, and it’s time for James Harden to slay the dragon. Get ya popcorn, baby.