The Houston Rockets are currently on fire. They have the best record in the NBA’s Western Conference and are firing on all cylinders now that Chris Paul is back healthy. Paul settling in and playing the relief role at point when Harden rests means that the team never really slows down, and Mike D’Antoni’s offense has absorbed two ball-dominant point guards with relative ease.
But the regular season is not where championships are won. And just because the Golden State Warriors have lost more games this season than usual doesn’t mean the Rockets think they’re in the clear against Steph Curry and Co. in the Bay Area. An opening-night win against the Warriors does little to the fact that, come June, you’ll have to beat Golden State four times to reach the NBA Finals.
The very creation of the super team that is the Houston Rockets is an attempt to match Golden State in the West. It’s a blatant arms race that Houston is n
to alone in, but no team has been more direct about its goals than Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
Morey appeared on Ryen Russillo’s ESPN Radio program on Friday and said the Warriors are “extremely focused” as a franchise on beating Golden State.
“I think I’m not supposed to say that, but we’re basically obsessed with ‘How do we beat the Warriors?’ Last year the Spurs knocked us off, so we’re very worried about the Spurs, they’re always one step ahead of every organization and guard us better than anyone. But we calculated it—it’s like 90 percent if we’re gonna win a title, we’ve gotta obviously beat the Warriors at some point. So we’re extremely focused on that. A lot of our signings and what we do during the year is based on that.”
The language being used here might be a bit over the top, but with the dynasty the Warriors have created the fact is you have to construct your team to beat the Warriors if you want to win. Houston hopes they have something special here this season, and they just might, but until the Dubs are beat in a 7-game series, no one is going to discount them as the class of the Western Conference.