The Golden State Warriors have made it to the NBA Finals the past 4 seasons. In the process, they have won three titles and set many league records. I mean, they had four all stars on their team this year. FOUR! It is almost unreal.
Many fans are hoping for (and expecting) a three-peat. This means that the team would have to win three consecutive championships, which they are currently at two, to fully complete. In the past few years, the Warriors have become a more popular and liked team. In the midst of all of this, many people forget that there is still one individual who has had the Warriors in his mind for some time, while having a record-breaking season of his own: James Harden.
Tonight, Harden came off of an insane win against the Sacramento Kings, 130-105. He scored 36 points with 63.2% accuracy and had ten assists, which shows he can not only score, but also can set his teammates up for good shots as well. The game before (on Saturday), they played the same team and beat them 119-108. Even thought this was a closer margin, The Beard went off for a triple-double that included 50 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. When it comes to scoring, he has no problem crossing some defender up and driving to the lane. When he shoots a deep three off of a step-back, he makes it look too easy. That’s who he is. Defenders have so much trouble guarding him because he is a southpaw, shooting with his left after they have gotten used to playing mostly right-dominant players.
People have counted the Rockets out for some time now, even though they almost beat the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last year. Many argue that Chris Paul’s injury completely changed the outcome of the series, which may be the case. Regardless, the Rockets are serious contenders in the West, no doubt about it.
It’s not only the fact that Houston is so good, but it almost seems like Golden State is becoming burned out this season. You can see these qualities from looking at the little things. This year I have watched the Warriors forget to box out defenders, jog on the fast break and not play aggressive defense. A little of this is normal, however this is not a little. Part of this may be that since some of these players have become more valuable, that the possible cost of injury would not be worth playing defense. But, as most basketball fans know: You cannot win the game without playing solid defense.
The NBA playoffs (In this case, in the Western Conference) this season are going to be phenomenal to watch. The Rockets and Warriors battling out other talented teams in their conference. Even though it is hard to see his facial expressions under the beard, James Harden seems mad. He could be sick of the Warriors winning so much. Will he be able to stop them this time? We will have to wait and see.
(Personally, if I was a team in the Western Conference during the playoffs, I would be hoping that I would play any team but this Houston Rockets).