Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

The Rockets are seriously a threat to the Warriors

The Rockets are seriously a threat to the Warriors

If the Warriors and Rockets finish with the same record at the end of the regular season, Houston would own the tie breaker, which could determine the No. 1 seed and home court advantage when the playoffs begin in April.

Following Sunday's 116-108 win over the Warriors, the Rockets big man claimed his team has surpassed the defending National Basketball Association champions after beating them twice this season.

This game meant more to the Rockets - who are trying to prove themselves to the Warriors - than it did to Golden State, and the Warriors seemed to acknowledge that after the game.

Clint Capela, in particular, was feeling himself after the game.

"Now we know that we definitely can beat them", he said. "Today, we were ready".

It will be several months before we see whether Capela's prediction pans out, and there is no doubt that these comments and others will put a target on his back from Warriors players and fans, who don't take kindly to slights. "We are better than them".

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Nonetheless, the Warriors (37-8) ended a 14-game road winning streak, snapped a eight-game winning streak against the Rockets (32-12) and concluded a 4-1 trip on a frustrating note. After all, Houston has been to the Western Conference Finals all of zero times in the Harden era, while Golden State has won two championships in the past three seasons. In addition, Luc Mbah a Moute went 4-6, and Chris Paul was 4-8, as the team shot 39 threes and made 17, good for 43.6 percent from the arc.

"The season starts over when you're in the playoffs anyway, so it doesn't matter".

"I thought we could have got a better shot then", Green said in reference to that offensive sequence. If you don't believe you can beat a team, you're probably not going to beat them. That was probably a sentiment that he would have been better off just keeping in the locker room. If the Rockets can sustain this defensive level and avoid careless turnovers, they have a shot to beat the NBA's top team.

"It's game 40-what? Seven, eight?"

"When we get the guys back, we can get there, but it's just the matter of, can we get the same mentality when we get everybody together, can we defend and have a force that's championship level?" "Now that we're healthy, I think that we're going to get back to a big winning streak and get back to doing what we need to do, like we did earlier in the year", said Gordon, the runaway favourite to win the Sixth Man of the Year award.

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