For weeks there has been discussion about whether Golden State Warriors fans want to face the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, a rematch of the 2015 Western Conference Finals.
On one side, there are people like me, who simply believe that the Rockets are so brutal to watch that feeling forced to watch them for a week is more torture than reward. Additionally, how awesome would an offseason with the Rockets in the lottery be?
On the other side are the pragmatists who just focus on the outcome: the Warriors will probably be sweeping the Rockets into irrelevance anyway, so doing so is worth whatever pain caused from watching them.
Regardless of where you stand, one thing almost everyone can agree on: the Rockets are going to lose. And when I say almost everyone, I'm including Rockets fans, as Jeff Cheal noted yesterday in his playoff preview.
Rockets fans express their confidence: https://t.co/IYYQJhP1YW— Deadspin (@Deadspin) April 14, 2016
Nevertheless, I asked our staff for their predictions to get a sense of their mood entering the series.
Dean Campbell: Clean sweep for the Dubs. Houston doesn't have enough offense outside of James Harden to keep up with Golden State, nor a defense that can affect the Warriors' outside shooting. Plus, as highly as Harden thinks of himself, the Rockets don't have the MVP.
Jeff Cheal: I've got Warriors in 5. They lose Game 4 in Houston and finish off the series back in Oakland. James Harden is too good to not take over a game himself. I also think if the Warriors sweep, Dwight Howard will walk off the court ala the Lakers after getting thrown out. High chance for drama either way.
Andrew Flohr: Gotta go Warriors in four games. The Dubs' bench is too deep and will take the Rockets' lunch money come Saturday. I have to imagine that the Dubs have been waiting for this game for at least a month or so now.
Bram Kincheloe: I think the Warriors win in five. I'm calling that they drop game four in Houston and then clinch at home. I really didn't want to see this matchup, but here we are. The Rockets are rotten to their core. Nothing good can come of this. Although, now that I've expressed displeasure, I feel perhaps I've jinxed the whole operation. Ahhhhhh, f-- it. Warriors in four.
Andy Liu: In a rematch of the Western Conference Finals, the Golden State Warriors will find it even easier this time around. Consider that after losing to the Warriors, the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and even the Los Angeles Clippers, have fallen apart. In an offseason that might see the departure of Dwight Howard, Daryl Morey, and many more, the Golden State Warriors will sweep the Houston Rockets into NBA oblivion.
Nate P: I'm having a hard even getting excited about this series, which pretty much sums up my feelings about the Rockets. I often find them totally unwatchable and James Harden, the man with the ball in his hands most often, is a primary reason for that. Last season, new to this whole dominant team thing, I think I gave almost every team the benefit of the doubt. I've learned my lesson. Dubs in a sweep.
Tony.psd: Warriors go 4-1 in the series. I think Houston can actually sneak in a win against us in this series. Maybe in game 4 they'll give their home crowd hope and eventually get crushed at the Roaracle in Game 5.
Jared Stearne: Warriors in 4. The Rockets have plenty of talent and a grudge to settle. But the fact is: they're inconsistent, indifferent and weak. They don't want to be here, they don't think they can win, and they want to go home. Dubs roll.
What do you think will happen in this series? Vote in the poll below and let us know what you think in the comments.