Rockets, Warriors advance to Western Conference finals

Rockets, Warriors advance to Western Conference finals

Series victor to the NBA Finals, series loser will undoubtedly feel like they let a championship ring slip away.

"No matter what the score is, no matter the time, whatever it is, we play desperate", Holiday said. "Got to go out there and play. Timing can still get a little better with the ball, things like that, when you start to get so excited.I continue to get better, continue to get my timing right and continue to get back to the normal rotations, normal, you know, minutes that I'm out there playing, and hopefully won't look back". Last year, they went 8-0 en route to reaching that stage and this year, they aren't far off only dropping one game in each round (8-2).

But even for his Houston Rockets teammates, what they saw from him Tuesday night was on another level. "That's all fine and dandy in January, but now they got us, and we got them". We really believed it. "You could see it in his eyes".

Stephen Curry slipped on the court during Game 4 of the opening round against the Rockets that year, suffering a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

The Warriors bounced back from a 119-100 thumping at New Orleans in Game 3 with an equally convincing 118-92 romp in Game 4, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. "I think inevitably, you see it in every series, if you handle your business early there's going to be a natural letdown", Kerr said. "I'm looking forward to that for sure".

The Warriors will face Houston in game one of the Western Conference finals next Monday. "Everybody is already talking about Warriors-Rockets".

"The whole world's been waiting for this matchup", Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal said in his role as an analyst Tuesday night on TNT.

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Draymond Green helped steady the ship however with a fadeaway and a driving layup to restore the Warriors double-digit cushion.

Kevin Durant echoed Green's sentiment. "We'll have to bring our A-plus game and I think our guys are ready". "Zaza Pachulia should go down and complain to Mike and say, 'You ruined my career, Mike.' But honestly, like when Mike made a decision to go small in Phoenix, whatever that was, 2004, 2005, and make [Amare] Stoudemire his center, it started this chain reaction, and it's one of the reasons the game is just small and fast and open, and the big guys have to be very specialized, and they have to be versatile".

It's the second time in four years that Houston and Golden State have met in the West finals; the Warriors ousted the Rockets in five games in 2015 on their way to the National Basketball Association title. The seeds are flipped this time, after Houston finished the regular season with the league's best record.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, have a bit of positive history to call upon in their quest to stay alive and perhaps advance past the second round for the first time ever.

The Rockets have been building this machine for years now, subscribing to general manager Daryl Morey's siren song of threes, frees, and layups, but it only has become this effective after Mike D'Antoni's second year at the helm, able to hand-pick his players and acquiring a Hall-of-Fame-caliber point guard in Chris Paul.

It picked up in January, when the teams split a pair of games.

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