Why Rockets-Warriors Game 1 is so important - Stephen A. Smith

Golden State has been in the NBA Finals the past three seasons, winning two championships.

Facing MVP candidate, Anthony Davis, in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Pelicans were staged to bring more excitement- and hopefully a challenge- to Warriors basketball. The Rockets are the top seed in the Western Conference, and it's hard to see how Cleveland, which finished * a href="http://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=DEF_RATING&dir=-1&CF=MIN*GE*15&Season=2017-18&SeasonType=Regular%20Season" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" *29th in defensive rating (109.5), could slow down Houston's high-powered attack.

In the first round, they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games.

If you've got the No 1 seed, because it's home court advantage and you think this is your time, Game 1 it's pivotal to send out a message, 'Here we are'.

For the first time since the opening round series against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014, the Warriors will be starting a playoff series in another city.

The Warriors fought injury woes all season with star guard Stephen Curry missing over 20 games, but he returned in Round 2 without missing a beat to help Golden State do away with the feisty New Orleans Pelicans.

There's certainly a chance that either Houston or Boston will pull off the upset.

Even though the Rockets won two out of three regular-season meetings against the Warriors, Kerr likes Golden State's position.

The Rockets most frequently used postseason lineup of James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza and P.J. Tucker has outscored opponents by 19.1 net points per 100 possessions over 237 playoff minutes.

The Celtics continue to exceed expectations without the injured Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Golden State this season, with their last meeting being held on January 20 in which Houston claimed a 116-108 victory at the Toyota Center.

The Rockets and Warriors will enjoy five days of rest before this series begins on Monday.

Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on January 15, 2018 in Cleveland.

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