The Specter of Stephen Curry's Injury Hangs Over Western Conference Finals


Over the course of 82 games and the first two rounds of this year's playoffs, the entire basketball world anticipated a collision course between the sport's two most dominant forces: the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. It's been 11 points per 100 possessions better with Capela on during the playoffs.

After the Warriors and Rockets dispatched the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz Tuesday night, respectively, the time for that showdown has finally arrived. The Cav-Celts matchup, on the other hand, looks familiar since this will be the second straight time the two will meet following Cleveland's victory last season only to be beaten by Golden State for the title.

Warriors' Kyle Looney, $4,000: The Warriors will need some production from its bench and I think Looney could be the guy to give them a nice boost.

Only one team can advance and that team will be the favorite to win it all over either Boston or Cleveland.

All that led to a lot of speculation the Cavaliers would start Tristan Thompson in Game 2. But he may decide to start one of his centers (Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee or Zaza Pachulia) to match up with Houston Rockets center Clint Capela at the start of games. The 32-year-old runs the floor as an exceptional facilitator, but the subpar shooting deals a blow to the offense when defenders can play 5-on-4 when contesting shots. Golden State produced a robust 61.8 effective field goal percentage against the Rockets during three regular-season meetings, leaving the onus on Houston to defend at a more rigorous clip.

While I think Lebron and the Cavaliers will overcome Brad Stevens and his group of overachievers, they simply do not have the firepower to defeat the Rockets or the Warriors. There's simply no incentive to stun the world on every single play of every single game.

With the series starting in Houston, the Rockets crowd will be ready to go (hopefully) for the 8 p.m. tip and a fast start by the Rockets should have them going wild for their guys.

The Rockets led the league in wins, point differential and three-pointers.

After he hit the shot, Harden made no attempt to get out of Green's way.

Mitchell was shaken up when Eric Gordon stepped on his ankle as he drove to the basket with about 5½ minutes remaining. The mere existence of the Golden State Warriors means that, to even have a chance at championship contention, you must be nearly impossible to stop and nearly impossible to exploit.

The Houston Rockets are a team for a reason and although James Harden is the most important ingredient, the contents should not be spilled all over the place in hopes of putting together a successful concoction.

The Boston Celtics entered the Eastern Conference Finals shorthanded and as the underdog. There is star power on both sides, and playoff history and animus to go with it. After Game 1, many people feel this series is theirs to lose.

The problem with raising any questions about the Warriors is that they often make you look stupid.

"If you can go in and get a road win in Game One, it changes the whole dynamic of the series".

And if their thinking holds true, coach Steve Kerr's Dubs and coach Tyronn Lue's Cavs are most-likely to hurdle the Rockets and the Celtics, respectively, to, for the fourth consecutive seasons, dispute anew all the marbles.