Another year, another Warriors win versus the Rockets

Stephen Curry faces off against fellow point guard Chris Paul.  The Warriors ended up winning the series 4-2.

Stephen Curry faces off against fellow point guard Chris Paul. The Warriors ended up winning the series 4-2.

Zach Lustbader, Staff Writer

The NBA playoffs are in full swing, and the most intriguing matchup for most fans is the Western Conference semifinals between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.  There are many levels as to why this matchup is so exciting.  The hype started last year when the same matchup took place and went to a full seven games.  The series was full of many ups and downs, finally ending with a Warriors series win.  However, there was much controversy over the calls made by the referees.  In addition, many believed that the Rockets would have beaten the Warriors if not for the injury of their star point guard, Chris Paul.  The result of this series did not make fans think about the Warriors dynasty finally ending, but rather evoked the idea that a team finally had the pieces to compete and possibly beat the Goliath of the NBA was very exciting.

With all of this excitement and after a long 2018-19 regular season, the playoffs finally came upon us.  With both the Rockets, who beat the Utah Jazz, and the Warriors, who beat the Los Angeles Clipper, defeating their opponents with little difficulty, it was time for the series everyone was waiting for.  This matchup had many fans believing that the Rockets finally had the right pieces to take down the best team in basketball, while other fans thought that the Warriors simply could not be beaten.  

“The Warriors and Rockets are equally talented in my opinion, but the thing that separates them is their offensive styles of play,” said sophomore Luke Fain.

This has been a common theory amongst sports analyst and fans, who think that this one difference is what will decide the outcome of this particular matchup.

“What Curry and Thompson do best is move the ball and set up open shots.  Harden is one of the most skilled players in the league, but his isolation style of offense is predictable and easy to guard.  If the Rockets want to win, Harden has to accept the fact that he cannot win the series by himself, but must share the ball with his teammates,” said Fain.

After all the talk and hypothesizing about what the outcome will be, the series began.  In game one, the Warriors squeezed out a win at home, winning by a slim four points.  In the following game, the Warriors again were able to defeat the Rockets.  With the Warriors up 2-0 in the series, the hopes for the Rockets started to lower.  However, the Rockets battled back in their home court to win in overtime by five points.  This game was arguably a turning point in the series, as it gave the Rockets some much needed momentum.  This spark was evident when the Houston squad beat the Warriors again in game four to tie the series at two games a piece.  The Warriors then had a very important win in game five.  During the game, Kevin Durant, one of their best players, suffered a calf injury that sidelined him for the rest of the series.  In the first half, it was a neck and neck battle, with Warriors All-Star point guard Stephen Curry not contributing anything to his team with zero points.  Nevertheless, the Warriors picked it up in the second half, thanks to the help of a 33 point second half performance by none other than Stephen Curry.  Then, in game six, the Warriors emerged with a 118-113 win, which showed once again the difficulty of beating the Warriors, even when they don’t have Kevin Durant.  After the game, star shooting guard for the Rockets, James Harden, immediately stated that he knows what they need to do next year to defeat them.  Many people have different opinions as to what this method could be.  

“The Rockets should definitely make some big changes this offseason,” said freshman Sahej Walia.  “No team can win playing hero ball, or iso-ball, but in order to win there has to be some ball movement and team chemistry on the floor.  This is an essential change that the coaching staff and players of the Rockets need to figure out this offseason in order to legitimately compete with the Warriors next season.”

This series lived up to many of the expectations of NBA fans.  Now that the Warriors have defeated the Rockets in a hard fought series, it will be interesting to see if they can keep it going through the next two rounds against great teams looking to dethrone the champions.