Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4, streaming live on the MyTeams app.
Rockets guard Austin Rivers did not play in Game 1 of the Golden State-Houston Western Conference Semifinals because of an illness.
He returned for Game 2, and although the Rockets lost, Rivers scored 14 points and was a team-best plus-10 in 24 minutes.
After practice on Friday, the 10th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft was extremely complimentary of the Warriors.
"I think this series comes down to effort," he told reporters. "People want to talk about how talented the Warriors are, and rightfully so, when they have multiple All-Stars. But you get so lost in how talented they are and their schemes and threes that people really don't understand that if you actually watch that team play -- watch how hard they run their sets, watch how hard they defend.
"They don't take any plays off. That's a team that's won three of the last four years and they're still playing like they've never won. That's the most impressive thing about Golden State.
"And I don't know who that is, if that's leadership from Steph (Curry) or Draymond (Green) or Steve Kerr. But they play extremely hard. You cannot not play as hard as them because they're going to be more talented than you 10 out of 10 times.
"There's not a starting lineup in the league that has what they have, so you have to play harder, otherwise you stand no chance."
Everything that Rivers said is truly spot on. He sounded like a coach -- his father is Doc Rivers -- as he delivered the message.
But you can't fool us, Austin, as we know exactly what you're doing. You want the Warriors to hear your comments so they let their guard down and think the series is already over.
You want the Dubs to enter Saturday's Game 3 without the necessary amount of "appropriate fear." If you tell the media that the Warriors were lucky to win Games 1 and 2 and declare the Rockets a better team, then Golden State will use that as motivation.
Very slick. Nice try, Austin!