Warriors Playoff Scouting Report: Houston Rockets Guards

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is helped off the court after sustaining an injury against the Houston Rockets

AP Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is helped off the court after sustaining an injury against the Houston Rockets

Basically the better defensive team will win this series.

Houston is 0-2 in playoff series against Golden State.

The Rockets are set to host the Warriors for Game 1 of the series at 9 p.m. ET Monday.

The Golden State Warriors are the only team that the Rockets will face that can score at the same frequency as them.

Stephen Curry (right) of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a shot on Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans during Game 5 of the National Basketball Association playoff's Western Conference semifinals at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California.

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The Jazz beat the odds this season even though they didn't win a championship because they overachieved in a tough western conference.

Crystallizing Houston's most-overlooked player, Clint Capela, against Golden State's scant centers, could be this ring-driven roster's paramount piece in undermining the Warriors front and backcourt. I thought the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, and the Los Angeles Clippers were going to be the eight teams out west that would be in the postseason. Heading into the Western Conference Finals, Houston is 5-1 at home, 3-1 on the road, and an overall 8-2 in the playoffs.

On Tuesday night, the Houston Rockets would punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals.

Meanwhile, the Rockets get to see if they can stack up against the best when it matters most. The Golden State Warriors are shooting 32.9 percent from beyond the arc and 81.6 percent from the free throw line.

Chris Paul noted after the Rockets won Game 5 that Harden had been playing under the weather, and could use the time off to recover.

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The defending champion Warriors, who cruised to 58 wins this season without breaking a sweat, have made three straight NBA Finals appearances, winning twice. "I don't know what it's supposed to feel like, but we've still got a lot of work to do".

Kerr on Thursday called Paul "a killer, one of the great competitors in the league" and someone who clearly has pushed Houston to new heights in his first season there.

While Houston will have home court advantage after finishing the regular season on top of the Western Conference, the Warriors once again showed signs they are peaking at the right time.

Mitchell anxious about being able to make the playoffs and he anxious about whether he was doing enough of the right things to get the Utah Jazz there. Golden State is favored with -180 odds, while Houston is +160 in the odds. But he returned later to the Utah bench minus his sneakers, unable to help the Jazz rally late against the Rockets, who won the series 4-1.

Asked to assess the team's season, Davis said, "Any time you don't win a championship, I don't see how it could be successful".

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