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Warriors Links: All the Western Conference Finals Previews you need

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We’re almost there! Here are the previews you need to read.

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NBA: Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The much-anticipated Warriors-Rockets Western Conference Finals are almost here, and some of the brightest basketball minds have analyzed the series to come. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Golden State of Mind’s very own preview, discussing the Hamptons Five lineup and the return of the terrifying Warriors’ defense. We all think the Warriors will pull it out in six or less.
  • The entire ESPN basketball cast makes their predictions, with nineteen of twenty-two anticipating the Warriors winning. Most of the analysts predict the Warriors win in six, while all those who predict a Rockets victory think it will take seven games to knock off the champions.
  • Zach Lowe is probably the definitive NBA writer, and his preview is just excellent. He understands the coaching chess match better than anybody, and delves into the Warriors’ preferred rotations and defensive schemes at length. He predicts the Warriors’ talent and versatility will win them the series in six.
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com has a numbers-heavy preview of the series. There’s no prediction, but there is a treasure-trove of advanced stats that emphasize how great both of these teams are.
  • Matt Moore of The Action Network discusses how Clint Capela switched on Stephen Curry could determine whether the Warriors’ offense reaches its full potential. It will be interesting to see if Curry can take Capela off the dribble, but in general, I would be looking to see if Steph can get Harden on a mismatch instead.
  • Ben Taylor of Backpicks.com gives the Warriors the upper hand, for a number of reasons: first, Draymond Green might be the only defender who can cover enough ground to destroy the Rockets’ spread offense. Second, the Warriors offense has just too much talent for the Rockets to reliably defend. Lastly, James Harden’s previous struggles against the Warriors are somewhat likely to carry over into this year.
  • Nylon Calculus has some interesting points about the series: we saw very little of Andre Iguodala due to injury, and a lot of Zaza Pachulia in the three regular season matchups between the two teams, which will definitely not continue in the postseason. It also shows a model that predicts a Houston victory, but I would process mathematical models (like 538’s, for example) with a huge grain of salt they simply cannot take into account all the factors. The Warriors’ regular season injuries and struggles look almost completely behind them, and that has to matter.
  • The whole team at the Bay Area’s Athletic site has the Warriors in six. They talk about how to defend James Harden and Chris Paul, which rotation guys could be huge difference makers, and how this Rockets team could be the toughest opponent the Warriors have faced in the playoffs under Steve Kerr.

Overall, the general perception is that the Warriors are the favorites, but predictions in these playoffs have been often wrong. Still, Dubs fans can hang their hat on their team’s star power, versatility, and experience going into Game 1.