With four All-Star players in their prime, it is difficult seeing any team beating the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series. However, during the offseason, the Houston Rockets challenged the Warriors by acquiring Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Through the 2017-18 NBA season, the Rockets currently have the league’s best record at 21-4. Despite Paul missing 14 games, James Harden is on pace to win his first Most Valuable Player award. As the Rockets are undefeated with Paul in the starting lineup, Clint Capela believes homecourt advantage in the playoffs will be key against the Warriors according to Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:
“We have to keep the advantage on them, by leading the Western Conference,” Capela says. “It’s going to be key for us to have home-court advantage in the playoffs. To go over there [to Oakland] is obviously hard. That advantage is going to be key for us.”
While some question if homecourt advantage will even matter, Capela expects to beat the defending champions:
“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.
With the Rockets currently playing the best basketball in the league, they certainly have the pieces to dethrone the Warriors. While the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers are also playing well, Houston figures to be Golden State’s biggest threat.
As the February trade deadline nears and veterans are bought out in hopes of joining contenders, it will be interesting to see if the Rockets can close the gap against the Warriors.