HOUSTON – Did you hear that? That's the sound of inevitability.
Both teams played 82 games and both played five in the first round and five in the second round. But in the Western Conference Finals, it will be the showdown that will come all season long, two trains on the same route preparing for a collision – the Golden State Warriors vs. the Houston Rockets, with a trip to the NBA. Final at stake.
"It's been a while since we started a row on the road – you kind of forget that feeling," said Warrior striker Draymond Green. "We have some swings to go in and take one, so I'm looking forward to it."
The opening night began, and the Rockets beat the Warriors 1
Showdown in the West: Warriors Meet the Rockets
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The Warriors eliminated the Rockets in five games in the 2015 and 2016 playoffs, leaving Houston GM Daryl Morey to rethink his list with one eye tilted towards the bay. How could he surround James Harden with the kinds of objects the warriors could beat four times? The way the Rockets played during the regular season and the way of thinking they worked with makes them confident.
"I think I should not say that, but we're basically obsessed with" How do we beat the Warriors? "" Morey told ESPN's Ryen Russillo in December. "We calculated it – it's like 90 percent, if we want to win a title, we have to beat the Warriors someday. Many of our signings and what we do during the year are based on that. We spend, "most of the time we just figured out how to turn off the Warriors in seven games because we're pretty sure this will determine our season."
Well, make it 100 percent now ,
"Maybe in the end, you play the Rockets, and, you know, I like our chances, no matter who we play," Green told Sports Illustrated in February. "But we know that they are a threat, they've added some great pieces and, as it's been well known, this team is built to beat us – well, great, see you soon."  After the last season's meeting in January, the Rockets felt a little bit. Clint Capela told ESPN: "We are the better team."
Durant responded the next day: "You hear that from people like Capela, he usually catches the ball and hangs him up from CP or James Harden. His job is not When your job is tough, you know you're not easy come out and say – so. "
One team won 65 games; the others won 58. Both are extremely confident in their style and system and have star power that can overwhelm and overtake. Both show matchup problems for the other. Both have depth. Both have some shortcomings. Both are very, very good.
"We had a vision and to get there where we wanted to go, we needed the right parts and that's what they're there for," Harden said after the Rockets made a trip to the conference finals with a Game 5 victory over the Jazz on Tuesday evening. "I know it's pretty hard to beat us if we try to do it."
The Rockets always knew what would come next. They watched the warriors throughout the season, first because of the top Western placements and home-based advantage because they were busy grabbing every available advantage.
"I'm really excited," Capela said about a matchup with the warriors. "This team is going to be tough, it's going to be a fight, there'll be a lot of adjustments after every game, it's going to be a game of chess, of course we'll be ready, it was you." to the finals in three even years. We are just excited. Everyone is excited. And I'm sure all NBA fans are excited about it too.
According to ESPN Stats & Information Research it is Best Offensive Matchup in Modern NBA History Since 1973/74, there has never been a series with two offenses that scored more than 112 points per 100 possessions, with the Warriors ranking first with 112.24 points per 100 points; The Rockets finished second at 112.23, and if the Rockets had shot one more shot in the regular season, they would have coped with the top offset, so thin is the split.
It's a contrast in style, but with The ball movement and the fluidity of the Warriors against the isolation of Rocket's ground and pound are two teams that try to do almost the same things – score in color and score from 3-point territory – but they go over them in different ways. The Warriors were third in passes per game; The Rockets were 30. The Warriors were 20 in isolation per game; The Rockets were the first. The Warriors were first on the off-ball screen per game; The Rockets were 30. They get the idea.
"They know what we do, we know what they are doing," said Durant. "It's just a question of playing well that night, so we'll see what happens."
The three games they have played against each other probably do not tell us much. The Rockets use them to boost their confidence, but they all happened more than three months ago, and key players were marginalized in every game. Andre Iguodala placed the first, Harden and Durant the second and Durant the third.
"It's weird because we did not play that long," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "And we only played them three times, just because of the schedule, it's been a long time since we saw them, but we know they're a great team, we know they're ready and we're ready for that. " you.
The Rockets were built in the vacuum of warrior dominance, there was a place to fill in, and someone had to step in as the antipode to the Golden State, and the Rockets spent the season telling everyone they were real They present a clear and present danger, the warriors have their story and their success to talk about.
"They have announced that their squad is built to beat us," Green said, "their obsession, or Whatever you want to call it – obviously you want to build your team to beat the defending champions, because that's usually the way to win a championship.
"That stuff was said for about a year, it's time to play."
ESPN's Nick Friedell and Chris Haynes contributed to the report.