Warriors

The key matchup in Game 1 of Warriors-Rockets is Klay Thompson vs James Harden

The key matchup in Game 1 of Warriors-Rockets is Klay Thompson vs James Harden

HOUSTON -- No more talking. It’s time to play, time for the defending NBA champion Warriors to face the challenge of the league’s best regular-season team, the Houston Rockets, in the Western Conference Finals.

Though this is the third time in four years that the teams have squared off in the postseason, with the Warriors winning the first two, both in five games. This, however, is the first time the Rockets were able to earn homecourt advantage.

BETTING LINE

Rockets by 1.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Thompson will be among several defenders on Harden, who led the NBA in scoring (30.4 ppg) after finishing second in each of the three previous seasons. With Andre Iguodala and Thompson taking turns, the Warriors have done a terrific job of keeping Harden off the free throw line and making him earn his points. They also want to test his defense, which has improved but still won’t keep Thompson from getting open looks. The Warriors would be thrilled if Thompson scores 80 percent of Harden’s total. Anything more is a bonus.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries reported.

GAME OFFICIALS

Scott Foster (crew chief), Tony Brothers, Tom Washington, Bill Spooner (alternate)

ROAD TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS

Warriors: Defeated San Antonio in five games in the first round, defeated New Orleans in five games in the conference semifinals.

Rockets: Defeated Minnesota in five games in the first round, defeated Utah in five games in the conference semifinals.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams met three times in the regular season, with Houston posting a 122-121 win on Oct. 17 at Oakland, the Warriors taking a 124-114 victory on Jan. 4 at Houston and the Rockets prevailing 116-108 on Jan. 20 in Houston. The Warriors have won 12 of the last 15 meetings in the regular season.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE BIG MEN: The vast majority of this series will feature small-ball units, but only the Rockets have a regular starting center in Clint Capela. The Warriors have been flexible, with JaVale McGee and Draymond Green starting in these playoffs. Other options in this series are youngsters Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell.

PARKING ON THE ARC: No team shoots more 3-pointers than the Rockets, who averaged 42.9 attempts per game in the regular season and are at 39.9 this postseason. The Warriors are game planning to prevent open look from the corners, a Houston staple, while also contesting everything on the wing.

THE STARTS: The Rockets have been aiming for the Warriors for two full years, and this is their best position so far. The Warriors are able to establish themselves early and take the crowd out of the game, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Rockets respond. Are these Rockets capable of taking control?

DeMarcus Cousins unfazed over potential backlash from joining Warriors

DeMarcus Cousins unfazed over potential backlash from joining Warriors

Do you want to know what the NBA free agency process was like for DeMarcus Cousins?

If yes, you're in luck.

SHOWTIME Sports is in production on a documentary that gives you an inside look at how Cousins ended up signing with the Warriors.

On Wednesday, a preview clip was released (watch the full video below).

"This is my ace of spade, this was my nuclear bomb, my last resort," Cousins said. "Yeah, I could have probably got a contract -- a decent contract -- from a bad team. But how does that help me?

"I'm already fighting a career-ending injury. I'm not gonna put myself in an already-bad situation and try to prove my value or my worth as a player in a situation that's not looking to win.

"I knew how it would be perceived by some. I didn't give a f**k. ... I knew what my ace was, and we made the call."

Cousins' introductory press conference is scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. Watch it live on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Isaiah Thomas cites 'loyalty' in reaction to Raptors trading DeMar DeRozan

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USATSI

Isaiah Thomas cites 'loyalty' in reaction to Raptors trading DeMar DeRozan

Isaiah Thomas knows a thing or two about getting traded against his wishes.

Last August, the Celtics blindsided the 2016-17 All-NBA Second Team selection by shipping him to the Cavs.

On Wednesday, the Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard.

DeRozan is not happy about this:

One can only assume that the following tweet from Thomas is his reaction to the deal:

The concept of "loyalty in the NBA" heated up after Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for the Warriors.

During the 2017 playoffs, Thomas played through the tragic death of his sister and battled through a hip injury.

He absolutely loved Boston and wanted to finish his career there.

The 29-year old thought he was line for a max deal from the Celtics, and instead he winded up signing for the veteran's minimum this summer with the Nuggets.

Perhaps the NBPA will fight for more "no-trade clauses" in the next CBA...?

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller