Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors - 5/14/18 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Donovan Mitchell

Houston Rockets eliminate Utah Jazz from NBA Western Conference playoffs

Will Paul, James Harden and company be able to pull it off?

The defending champion Warriors, who cruised to 58 wins this season without breaking a sweat, have made three straight NBA Finals appearances, winning twice.

At Thursday's practice, the Warriors went over how they were going to guard Harden and Paul, with special consideration to all of the isolation plays they run. Cleveland has advanced to the Eastern Conference finals and is awaiting the victor of the conference semifinals series between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, with Boston up 3-1 going into Wednesday night's Game 5 at TD Garden.

Cleveland wins series 4-0. The team didn't provide an update on his condition after the game, but he was wearing a walking boot on his left foot. Paul was seen as a ideal point guard for head coach Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system, but how would he handle splitting ball-handling duties with Harden? Make no mistake, though, Harden is the MVP this season. Paul will do so for the first time in his stellar 13-year career after 86 postseason games played. He has been driving to the basket around the same amount of times per game but with less success.

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In one of the defining performances of his career, Paul carried the Rockets down the stretch in Game 5 against a feisty Utah Jazz team.

All of which illustrates a unsafe element of this series, from the Warriors' standpoint.

Mitchell scored the final 14 points of the third for the Jazz, abusing each and every defender the Rockets sent in his direction.

Andre Iguodala should return to his usual bench role when Curry eases back into the starting lineup.

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But how this Houston season will be remembered hinges largely on the outcome of this series. But what would have happened to D'Antoni after that had Kerr not returned to coaching?

Anthony Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, but the Pelicans hit only 36 per cent (32 of 88) of their shots, missing 22 of 26 3-point attempts. They beat Oklahoma City in six games to reach the Western Conference semifinals, where they lost 4-1 to the Houston Rockets. Rajon Rondo finished with 11 rebounds, but the Pelicans also committed 19 turnovers, which led 21 Warriors points. The thing about playing the Warriors is that you have to work incredibly hard to keep pace with their scoring. But like I said before, all that stuff is cool.

"There was a good team in there somewhere, we just didn't know to what degree", Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said Wednesday as the team prepared to head into the offseason.

A ticket to see the Warriors at home in the West Finals has the highest asking price of the decade - $976 - while a ticket to see the Rockets at home ranks second at $957. Amazingly, it caused no outrage - even from head coach Alvin Gentry, who looked nearly glad to see him.

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The Rockets, on the other hand, opened as + 155. Kenny Smith: "As normal". "I'll continue to get better, continue to get my timing right, continue to get back to the normal rotation, the normal minutes I'm out there playing and hopefully won't look back".

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