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Rockets have last, best chance to put stop to Warriors dynasty

12 May, 2018, 14:19 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry celebrates his 2-point basket against the New Orleans Pelicans in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals at Oracle Arena in Oakland Calif. on Tuesday

Here's what you need to know about these teams going into the Eastern Conference Finals.

The first round of this postseason was fun.

Cleveland took two of three from Boston, but Sunday's opener is rated as even per the Westgate betting line. Some new faces basked in the playoff limelight. Each series was a bit of a letdown. Golden State is -150 favorites to win the National Basketball Association title, followed by Houston at +240, then Cleveland +550 and the long shot Boston Celtics at +1600.

For all intents and purposes, this is the real NBA Finals. For the moment, Cavaliers fans have quit fretting about where LeBron might end up after this season. Rajon Rondo finished with 11 rebounds, but the Pelicans also committed 19 turnovers, which led 21 Warriors points.

Boston's win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night brought down the curtain on the postseason's second round - one that wasn't exactly loaded with drama, since it was the first time since 2002 that none of the NBA's four conference semifinal series went past five games. We don't have to run around talking about how bad we want to play somebody.

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Golden State has been holding back all year - they told us in the preseason that they were going to take a page out of the LeBron James playbook, and they followed through on that warning. The Celtics are playing with the mindset that they have nothing to lose. "I know if we give the effort that we know we can it's pretty tough to beat us". They were coasting through the regular season and their defensive rating slipped. According to oddsmakers, the Warriors are favored, as they are getting odds of -200 to win the series. And while it's still Golden State's conference until the Rockets prove otherwise, many are tipping Houston to take the series.

In December, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said the Rockets were "obsessed" with beating the Warriors.

Chris Paul, who is in his first season with the Rockets after an offseason trade from the Los Angeles Clippers, scored a playoff career-high 41 points and added 10 assists and seven rebounds to lock up his first spot in the conference finals with a 112-102 Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz.

This is the third time these teams have met in the playoffs and the Rockets have not fared well against the Warriors in their short history. Current Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was a former assistant coach for the Dubs in 2015 when they won the championship that year. Stevens makes good players become great players by making defense a priority and makes sure his players are competing at the highest level no matter what the situation is. Everybody's excited about it. Their style of play is predicated on shooting from beyond the arc and their losses in the playoffs have occurred when the 3s aren't dropping. Keeping a gritty team like the Celtics around too long can result in a lengthy series. "I think defensively both teams are playing really well".

They won't know who won until June 25 - after the season.

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