Keys to Victory: Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are coming into this series with one of the biggest advantages a team can have: Home-court advantage. They enter this series as the top dogs in the West, with a 65-17 record this season. The acquisition of Chris Paul would make headlines when it was announced, and for good reason.
Averaging 18.6 points-per-game and eight assists-per-game, Paul is the playmaker that Houston was hoping for. Sharing the court with consensus MVP James Harden, these two will undoubtedly be the biggest keys to victory for Houston. Combine Paul’s impressive season with Harden’s 30.4 points-per-game and 8.8 assists-per-game, and you have one of the deadliest combos in the league.
While they may be two of the most lethal shooters in the NBA, they face their own demons. Harden was knocked out of the Western finals last year, while Chris Paul is making his first appearance in the big dance. For Harden, he is channeling a quote from the legendary “Nature Boy” Ric Flair ahead of tonight’s game.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni is preparing to formulate a game plan for a team that presents them with many different challenges.
“They have so much talent that they’re that good,” D’Antoni. “There’s a lot of challenges to really think about.”
Keys to Victory: Golden State Warriors
Entering the playoffs with a 58-24 record, the Warriors are in unfamiliar territory. They no longer have home-court advantage entering the conference finals.
The anticipation for this series is at an all-time high. The Warriors have the biggest x-factor in this series in Stephen Curry. Averaging 26.4 points-per-game and 5.1 rebounds-per-game this season, Curry is considered by nearly all to be the best shooter in NBA history.
Partner his skill with the likes of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson‘s three-point shooting ability and Kevin Durant‘s 26.4 points-per-game, and the Rockets are dealing with the toughest test they’ve faced this season.
Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr is maintaining the championship confidence heading into tonight’s game, reminding everyone who the champions are.
The opening round of the Western Conference Finals will begin tonight at 9 p.m. The Golden State Warriors will face the home-court disadvantage when they play the Houston Rockets. Finally, game one of this series will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and will be live on TNT.