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5 takeaways from 2017-18 National Basketball Association season

12 May 2018, 02:15 | Percy Christensen

Twitter Goes Wild Over Chris Paul's Performance in Rockets Win Against JazzMore

Twitter Goes Wild Over Chris Paul's Performance in Rockets Win Against JazzMore

The Warriors had bumps along the way this season and finished seven games behind Houston.

They'll open on the road on Monday, May 14 (May 15 in Manila), against the Rockets, who supplanted the Warriors as top seeds in the West this season with a league-leading 65 regular-season wins. But they have the opportunity, perhaps more than a puncher's chance, and that's what they set out for when they built their own super-team. Not only is Golden State's SRS almost half of what it was the past few seasons, this year marks the first time since 2015 it is lower than its opponent.

They upset the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first-round of the playoffs in six games and they lost in five games in the second-round against the Houston Rockets, but the Jazz played them tough.

This series has everything. "We know they are ready, and we'll be ready for them". Houston's net rating was 8.5, to 8.0 for the Warriors.

In fact, listening to the Warriors talk Thursday, it nearly seemed as if they enjoyed the fact that they don't have home-court advantage in what might be a de-facto NBA Finals. The new Rockets beat the Warriors two out of three times during the regular season.

LeBron James. Obviously, "Cavaliers win if LeBron James" isn't really a sentence, but at this point it may as well be. Perfect. But we ain't running around talking about, man, I can't wait, like we want them bad.

Those comments have sat in the minds of the Warriors for five months.

The Rockets can't ask for much more. What did he say?

"That's all fine and dandy, in January", he said. "You just can't ever make a mistake and they make you pay in a way very few teams ever have". He went to go get it.

If it weren't for a beating-the-Warriors obsessed Rockets team led by general manager Daryl Morey, D'Antoni's career might've petered out.

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P.J. Tucker scored a playoff career-best 19 points, and Harden added 18 points on a night he was "under the weather", according to D'Antoni. Gerald Green scored 29 points in his absence and Gordon scored 30.

Prediction: In another series that will go seven games, I'm picking the Rockets to dethrone the Warriors this year. "Chris is the obvious difference in their team now", Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Thursday after practice.

The Rockets won two of three regular season matchups, which gives them a solid sense of confidence entering the series. Of course, there's some credence to the Rockets' theory: James Harden and Chris Paul are desperately seeking a first National Basketball Association title, and the memory of previous postseason failures will give them plenty of motivation to dethrone Golden State.

Taking down the defending champions is a daunting task.

Because he, along with the rest of the Houston Rockets, have only one goal in mind. So, all understandable. That stuff has been said for about a year now.

"We played (the Rockets) in the conference finals in '15, and he was Dwight (Howard's) backup", Kerr said.

Many changes have happened to both teams since then.

Boston has a 3-1 lead over Philadelphia in their series, so they are likely to face Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Championship. Like it don't matter to us who we play.

"However, we got them. Now?"



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