Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Chris Paul is Headed to his 1st Conference Finals

Chris Paul is Headed to his 1st Conference Finals

This is the kind of superstar a team can build around. They have home court advantage.

The over/under on Game 1 opened at 225.5 and Houston is a 2-point favorite in that contest. All of the wins by both teams were on the road.

Hours later, the Jazz would be on the losing end of both the game and the series, as an impressive Donovan Mitchell-inspired season came to an end. Paul's 2017-18 stats lined up nearly exactly with his career stats and he actually took more field goal attempts per game than he did last season. Houston beat Utah Jazz 112-102 to also wrap up a 4-1 series win. This is the first Western Conference Finals for the childhood friends.

It seemed an inevitability for months now that the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets would meet in the Western Conference Finals. But now, you know, they got us. However, they returned home and grinded out a 99-91 victory to move on to the next round.

The teams first met in 2014-15.

"Before we get started ..." he began.

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Curry missed over a month of action late in the season nursing a knee injury, an unfortunate asterisk on what has otherwise been the most efficient scoring regular season of the two-time Most Valuable Player's National Basketball Association career. Cleveland has advanced to the Eastern Conference finals and is awaiting the victor of the conference semifinals series between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, with Boston up 3-1 going into Wednesday night's Game 5 at TD Garden. It was followed up by a 5-game series win over the New Orleans Pelicans. While a showdown between two great teams in the playoffs should always stoke the excitement of fans, this matchup is a moral dilemma for fans who have no rooting interest. Houston struggled in Games 2, 3 and 4 from the perimeter against the Jazz but was hot in Games 1 and 5: if the Rockets' shooting from those two games show up, the Warriors could have their hands full.

Only once in those three-plus seasons have the Warriors lost a playoff series - and it took the greatest player of his generation, LeBron James, leading his team back from a three-games-to-one deficit in the NBA Finals, aided by a Draymond Green suspension. The last time he made the conference finals the Warriors took his team out in five games. The only thing that stands in their way in my opinion is themselves.

These two teams are the top two teams in the league in scoring offense during the regular season and with Durant, Curry, Green, Thompson, Harden, Paul, Gordon and the rest of the three point bombers in the series, it's expected to be a high scoring affair.

Golden State wins series 4-1. He would not return to the game, forced to watch the final seven-plus minutes of Utah's season tick away from the sideline. Nor is it a surprise they've staked their future on keeping games competitive via smash-and-grab defense.

David Griffin put together the last roster that beat the Warriors in the postseason. They believe they're much better suited to match up with Golden State this time around, but know it won't be easy to dethrone the defending champions.

During the regular season, Golden State and Houston played three times.

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