Warriors vs. Rockets Game 1 Preview & Prediction

The Golden State Warriors overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Memphis Grizzlies to advance to the Western Conference Finals, while the Houston Rockets became the ninth team in league history to overcome a 3-1 deficit against the Los Angeles Clippers. Who will continue their hot streak and draw first blood in this series?

Projected Starting Lineups

(1) Golden State Warriors (67-15)

G Stephen Curry – 23.8 ppg, 7.7 apg, 2.1 spg
G Klay Thompson – 21.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
F Harrison Barnes – 10.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F Draymond Green – 11.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg
C Andrew Bogut – 6.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg

(2) Houston Rockets (56-26)

G Jason Terry – 7.0 ppg, 1.9 apg

G James Harden – 27.4 ppg, 7.0 apg, 5.7 rpg

F Trevor Ariza – 12.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg

F Terrance Jones – 11.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg

C Dwight Howard – 15.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg

What to watch for:

How will Houston guard the Splash Brothers?

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are undoubtedly the best backcourt in the league, and while the Warriors can hurt you from anywhere on the court, the “Splash Brothers” are the two that set the tempo for the rest of the team. Houston can struggle on defense at times, especially on the perimeter without Patrick Beverley. Trevor Ariza will probably start on one of them, but the Rockets need to find someone else who can effective guard the other.

Can James Harden get to the free throw line at a high rate?

Harden can score from anywhere on the court, but he turned himself into a MVP frontrunner by getting to the foul line more than anyone else in the NBA. He has had problems consistently getting to the charity stripe this postseason, but Houston is at their best when he's shooting double-digit free throws. If he can get to the free throw line 10 or more times, Houston will have a good chance to win this game.

Prediction: Warriors win 114-101

Golden State swept the Rockets during the regular season and have only lost three home games all season. Houston will continue their high level of play, but the Warriors will take it to another level at Oracle Arena and win fairly easily.

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