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Rockets vs Warriors Preview: Harden and CP3’s Only Chance To See Rings This Season Is Opening Night

The Warriors’ quest for a dynasty continues on Ring Night against the reborn Houston Rockets

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch:

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017

Time: 7:30 PM PST

Location: ORACLE Arena — Oakland, CA


Radio: 95.7 The Game

Team records:

Warriors: 0-0

Rockets: 0-0

2016-17 results: Warriors won 3-1

Projected starters:

Warriors: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Kevin Durant, PF Draymond Green, C Zaza Pachulia

Rockets: PG Chris Paul, SG James Harden, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Ryan Anderson, C Clint Capela

Injury report:

Warriors: Omri Casspi (ankle) Probable, Andre Iguodala (back strain) Questionable

Rockets: None

Key matchups: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson against Chris Paul and James Harden in a battle for elite backcourt supremacy

Buddy Blog: The Dream Shake

Quest for a dynasty

Who is it that rules the NBA and puts the Fear Of God into all opponents? The Splash Lords, the “Super Villains,” your undisputed World Champion GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS.

Fresh off of their second title in three years and the joys of completely flummoxing the NBA, the young phenoms turn their eyes toward destiny. The Warriors begin their campaign towards back-to-back titles after their first attempt in 2015-2016 was thwarted by a Harrison Barnes disappearance and a Cleveland Cavaliers miracle. If they can seize their third title in four years, they will kick down the gates of the basketball pantheon and enter into the the “DYNASTY” conversation.

On Tuesday night, Dub Nation will rejoice and the haters will bow their heads in helpless resentment as the franchise raises it’s fifth BANNER (tied for 4th most in NBA history).

As is custom, the champs will get to party one last time in front of their adoring fans as the banner slowly rises to the rafters. They will humbly receive their garishly oversized diamond rings. Then, the music will end, and it will be back to business of ruling the NBA with an iron fist.

Dubs gunning for NBA’s best record (again)

The Dubs are fresh off of a pleasant preseason that saw the Warriors get loose in China, tune up the Big 4, and briefly reveal a glimpse of rookie Jordan Bell’s nuclear capabilities. Those good vibes must translate into a fast start on Opening Night for the Dubs to set the tone for 2017-2018. The reason? The Western Conference’s frantic race for home court advantage.

With several teams in the West making big time roster moves in desperate attempts to derail the champs’ aspirations, the Dubs would be wise to lock up the #1 seed as early as possible. Home court advantage has been instrumental during the Splash Bros era (34-8 home playoff record).

Don’t you just LOVE during the playoffs when the best home crowd in the NBA pushes the Dubs into a hyper feeding frenzy? If they quickly lock up the best record in the West, they could comfortably rest their big guns down the stretch of the regular season knowing “home cookin’” awaits.

Rockets are obsessed with stopping Dubs

I was a personal witness to the Rockets potential last season when they stunned Dub Nation in Oakland, 132-127 . They are a terrifying offensive machine: last year they ranked 1st in three pointers made and were 2nd overall in scoring behind Golden State. The Rockets have mastered how to leverage high percentage three pointers and rim attacks out of the pick and roll offense. They had the third best record in basketball last season, a 55 win effort fueled by the elite star power of guard, James Harden. The MVP runner up, Harden dominated under the tutelage of Rockets head coach and (regular season) offensive genius Mike D’Antoni.

Unfortunately, Harden seemed to run out of gas against a Kawhi Leonard-less San Antonio Spurs team in the second round and the Rockets flamed out of the playoffs for a fifth straight year. Agitated Rockets GM Daryl Morey decided to pull something out of his sleeve, and engineered a massive trade to bring in future hall of fame point guard Chris Paul. Morey followed up this shocking coup by adding rugged defender P.J. Tucker to match up defensively with Golden State’s flexible roster.

Morey truly believes that his team has closed the gap. Pairing two Olympic Gold Medalists in the same backcourt is a brazen move. Questions certainly abound:

  • Can Harden and Paul shed their ball dominant tendencies to create an efficient and deadly offensive attack?
  • After trading away pesky ball hawk Patrick Beverley, will they be able to tread water defensively against the tsunami that is the Warriors onslaught? Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green feels skeptical at best about this topic.
  • Can The Beard still maintain his elite offensive effectiveness with the NBA specifically changing rules to crack down on his shameful flopping for free throws?
  • Will Curry ever give former mentor Chris Paul his soul back after ripping it out of his body with all those macabre, highlight reel moves? Steph turned this elite defender into a MEME y’all!

Kiss The Rings, Houston

Remember when James Harden smugly quipped to his teammates that the Warriors “weren’t that good” a couple years back? The same guy who set the playoff record for most turnovers (13) in a playoff game against us?

Yeah, well, the Beard will get a front row seat as the New Warriors Order preens with their new set of rings. I’m sure Draymond Green is reminding his teammates that they laid a stinker in opening night last year against another Texas team, the Spurs. The Warriors will do their best to avoid blowing their first game this season.

Look for the champs to make an example out of this desperate contender to start the year off properly. I predict an entertaining bloodbath as the Rockets new pieces struggle to gel.

Gold-blooded Prediction: Warriors 125, Rockets 103

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