Looking at the Rockets/Warriors match up.

(Photo Credits:  Rockets Wire )

(Photo Credits: Rockets Wire)

The Rockets and Warriors meet in the Western Conference finals once again.

I'm going to keep it fair and break down this match up. I won't be oblivious to the fact that this isn't the same Rockets team. They knocked out the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, who both gave their fan base and organizations some eye-openers moving forward. The Rockets came in and handled business nonetheless. 

Houston is impressive right now

Houston impressed me when James Harden had an off night to close the Jazz out, but Chris Paul went berserk. CP3, age 33, went off for 41 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds. Paul is set to show how bad he wants to be a champion as there is no better time than right now. After 13 years, he is headed to his first conference finals

For the Rockets to have the edge in this series, the must attack and defend. That's plain and simple. Keep this Golden State team on their feet. Don't underestimate D'Antoni's offense in this series. I'm expecting a barrage of threes and the execution of their pick and roll. This is the kind of series that will call on a plan to get multiple players on the team involved. All hands on deck. 

Famous James with the recipe. 

Famous James with the recipe. 

Curry and Chris Paul will impact the game how they can. Chris Paul is the floor general, Curry is the heartbeat for his team. James Harden needs to be James Harden for this team to be the threat they can be. The Timberwolves or Utah didn't have the type of star power that Golden State possesses. Nor the role players. Houston's role players will have to make good plays and help out their star back court. 

Golden State on the other hand. 

(via  NBA.com ) Curry and Durant celebrates their championship win. 

(via NBA.com) Curry and Durant celebrates their championship win. 

 

Golden State is just the force to be reckoned with. Albeit, this is the toughest match up they've seen since their spurt of championship runs. Often times they ran into banged up teams, more recently the Spurs with Kawhi Leonard missing a key series last year in the Western Conference Finals. Don't get me wrong this team is nothing short of great, but now we're going to be in for a series that will defy modern day basketball.

Durant must be the Easy Money sniper that's in his DNA. Every night he must make it hard for the opposing match up. He's that kind of player anyway, but just to ensure that he's giving whoever it is guarding him some fits. Curry and Klay can't take multiple games of missing shots. They must be there. Steph is averaging 24 points on 44 percent shooting from deep. He must keep his play at a high level, being a helluva second option to Durant. Draymond will need to be as versatile as he can get because just like the rest of the teams in the league, they don't have a Draymond Green. He needs to be that X-factor. 

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If Golden State wants to advance to their fourth final in consecutive years, they must stop the run. They are the best fast break team in the league, but it is important for them to sit on any run that the Rockets can bring. The Rockets can get hot at any seconds because it's like that. 

The Rockets have players that can get up and down the court. Chris Paul and James Harden cause push the ball at uptempo speed and their bench/role players are nothing short of plug in players. Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson, PJ Tucker, Gerald Green and company can give their opposing team a fit if you don't hold them. 

Don't count Clint out.

Clint Capela gives 100 percent every night, and I don't think he will slow his own motor in the conference finals. He's averaging 14 points, 12 rebounds, and nearly 3 blocks this postseason. Capela said that this Rockets team is better than this Warriors team, so I believe he will be out there with something to prove.  Durant once spoke out on Capela's game, but KD said it best when he said "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." The Warriors can't be lackadaisical and get out hustled on the court.

Durant driving to the lane on Capela and Tucker (Photo Credits: Getty Images//SlamOnline)

Durant driving to the lane on Capela and Tucker (Photo Credits: Getty Images//SlamOnline)

Both teams can shoot the three ball and an incredible rate. I feel as if the team who have the better rate wins. Both teams don't have a low post presence, as they knocked off the teams that did have a low post presence. This kind of mirrors how today's league is a guard driven league. Nonetheless, I'm expecting nothing less than a five star series. 

 

My Hot pick: Warriors in 6.

In the end, I believe Golden State will advance and reach the finals again. 

Enough for Cleveland?

By: Jimmie Sykes

In a very short time span, Cleveland traded away almost all of their offseason acquisitions.

On February 8,  the Cavs were involved in three trades that included four teams. They received guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr. from the Los Angeles Lakers, guard Rodney Hood from the Utah Jazz, and guard George Hill from the Sacramento Kings. In exchange, Derrick Rose was sent to Utah, Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and CLE first round pick was sent to the Lakers, and Iman Shumpert was sent to Sacramento.

"I think we became a younger team, more athletic. We added some more shooting as well. So, we'll have to see how it meshes," James said. "I like the pieces that we have coming in."

(source: ESPN)

The Cavaliers cleaned house. For what it's worth, Cleveland made some nice upgrades from what they had previously. They have another starting veteran point guard, a potential starting shooting guard/role player, a combo guard/ 6th man, and another athletic big. For the Cavs, I love this trade.

There is only one ball to go around. LeBron James has been the primary play maker always. Other players that need the ball to make plays such as Thomas and Rose can cause for a struggle in their offense.They aren't spot up shooters or the best defensively, so it was best to let go instead of Cleveland being a black hole for them.

The best thing for Wade was to send Wade back to Wade County. Miami is currently sitting at seventh seed for the Eastern conference. There's no doubt in my mind that Wade will be back in the postseason. This was one of the more class act trades I've ever seen. Even if Lebron James were to leave in the off season, the Cavaliers have nice pieces to hold a rebuilding   process together.

The Cavs are on a four game winning streak since they formed into the new look team. Now that all-star weekend is over, I expect a rejuvenated team with fresh legs. Cleveland is currently 6.5 games back from the number one seed, but they'll be just fine. 

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