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Warriors Vs. Rockets
The best on-paper series of the postseason is … scheduled for the semi-finals of the conference? This is due to Paul George, who took fourth place on Tuesday with his triple victory game.
But the rockets knew their squadron would go through the Warriors ̵
Houston had won the squadron series 3-1, and it could be the League's only attack weapon answering the signature groundbreaking runs of Golden State. James Harden has prepared an unprecedented combination of offensive volume and efficiency, and in early January he had 44 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, 10 trebles and a how-did-he-hit opponent who was defeating the game's deepest opponent Warriors.
"We see James Harden doing the best he can," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr earlier this season, according to Bay Area News group Logan Murdock. "He shooted his backward step three, was tortured … it was amazing."
But as dominant as Harden was, he is overtaxed in this series. Houston's summer sacrifices for long-legged defenders Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute could hurt the most in this matchup – the missiles slipped from seventh to eighteenth in defensive action, and Chris Paul was not in full season even there.
Houston has no comfortable option to defend Kevin Durant. Stephen Curry has owned his matchup for some time now. If Klay Thompson's legs are taxed in defense of Harden, the dubs can replace some of his hits with DeMarcus cousins.
Last season's rockets were as close to dubbing the dubs as any Western Conference club was.
Prediction: Warriors in Six
Nuggets vs. Thunder
In the regular season, the Nuggets swept the thunder 4: 0 with an average profit margin of 9.25 points. With Paul Georges shoulder on the question marks, Denver seems to be the obvious choice.
Why do we lean in a different direction?
This is partly because this young Nuggets core has not taken the playoff lumps that often. Become a contender for development. This is Denver's first post-season trip since 2013. No current nuggets were part of this team; Most were not even in the league.
OKC may not have a shared playoff experience, but its key players are all very experienced. Russell Westbrook has participated in four conference finals and a championship round. George and Steven Adams have twice covered three laps. Dennis Schroder already has 34 playoff games under his belt, and Jerami Grant has eleven.
Experience is not the only thing that matters, but it can distinguish two similar teams. And what the seeds suggest, there was no big difference between OKC and Denver this season. The Nuggets and Thunder finished eighth and ninth in the net rating with only 0.6 points per 100 possessions.
Adams can make Nikola Jokic at least uncomfortable, Westbrook has too much sportiness for Jamal Murray and George could run circles around the wings of Denver. Between the top-level talent and the increasing urgency, OKC has just enough to survive this series.
Prediction: Thunder in Seven