Draymond Green gets technical foul for shoving Harden in Game 1

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Draymond Green gets technical foul for shoving Harden in Game 1

"We're in excellent shape mentally", he told reporters on the eve of Monday's Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals. Houston has no one who can adequately defend him - Paul was capable at one point, but in recent years it has seemed like an extreme mismatch - and once Curry gets cooking he has an effect on all of the players around him that can be outdone only by LeBron James. His prowess in that area was on full display in Houston's Game 5 win that eliminated the Timberwolves in the first round.

Paul and Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni are also looking for their first NBA Finals berth. Golden State needed to survive the early emotional salvo from the Rockets, with Houston dashing to a 12-4 lead behind eight points from Harden.

Finally, Paul goes to the conference finals with a team that's playing at or near its peak levels.

In an ordinary season, a team like this would be seen as the favorites to win the National Basketball Association title.

Curry returned from almost six months sidelined with a sprained left knee to play the final four games of a five-game semifinal series against New Orleans. That includes his inexplicably bad Game 6 performance when the Rockets were eliminated by the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs in last year's second round. Now they begin the series in Houston, which was so unusual to the Warriors that some players reportedly booked the wrong plane tickets for family members.

While a team conceivably would like the easiest path possible to the championship round, the Warriors reportedly were hoping to meet the Rockets in the playoffs.

Forgrave believes that while the Warriors regular season campaign went up and down because of injuries to their stalwarts, they look fine in the playoffs and if they feel this way in the finals, "they're close to unbeatable". There's simply no incentive to stun the world on every single play of every single game. Coach Steve Kerr, however, hasn't seemed overly anxious about the Western Conference Finals-mainly because his team has been there and done that in the playoffs. The only problem with that is the Rockets rely even heavier on the 3-point shot and would have to be extremely hot at the same time Golden State is slumping. Mbah a Moute missed the first round and made just two of his 10 3s versus the Jazz, but the 31-year-old did hit a career-high 63 three-pointers in the regular season, despite missing 21 games to injury.

The Houston Rockets won 65 games in the regular season, with a league-best plus-8.5 net rating, and only lost two games in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

On any other night, the game the Rockets had would have been good enough to beat many teams. The Houston Rockets essentially let the ducks get away and it's not even amusing, it's a serious situation that needs to be fixed. Last but certainly not least is the trade that acquired a superb point guard in Chris Paul. "They happened to be on the bench with some great players, so I don't buy into that totally".

Some things to know about the Warriors-Rockets series. They've got James Harden, who's going to be the MVP.

As we know the defending champs are a clear favorite to win this series and repeat, giving Golden State 3 titles in a 4-year stretch.

"It's a must that you have to have (someone like him) against Golden State or they're going to get you", he said.

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