Warriors, Rockets set to run it back, just the way Houston wanted it

Warriors, Rockets set to run it back, just the way Houston wanted it

LOS ANGELES - After signing a four-year, $160 million contract extension last summer, Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul tweeted the four-word slogan, "UNFINISHED BUSINESS...RUN IT BACK."

Since the tweet, the phrase has been a rallying cry for both Paul and the rest of his teammates and a team-wide mandate since losing to the Warriors in last season's Western Conference Finals. 

Eleven months later, with the Rockets well-rested watching in their Bay Area hotel, the Warriors dismantled the LA Clippers to set up a rematch in the Western Conference semifinals, granting the Rockets their wish. 

"We know them well," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following Friday's 129-110 series-clinching win. "We kind of know what they're going to do. They don't make you think too much about what they're going to do." 

Even before Paul's tweet, the Rockets have displayed the habit of keeping an extra eye on the Warriors. Five months before the Warriors beat Houston in an exhaustive seven-games series, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey explained his fixation on the champs. 

"It's the only thing we think about," Morey told ESPN Radio's The Ryen Russillo Show. "I think I'm not supposed to say that, but we're basically obsessed with 'How do we beat the Warriors?'

Two days ago, after the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz to move to the second round, big man Clint Capela made his intentions known of who he wanted to play. 

“That’s what I want. I want to face them," Capela said in reference to Golden State. “We’ve been working on it all year long. I think if you want to be the champion, you’ve got to beat the champion. So, at some point, you’ve got to do it, right?”

While most teams may desire to face a certain opponent, seldom do you see an organization from top to bottom outwardly voice their opinion one way or another the way Houston has. 

"Nah, I've never personally been through anything like that," Kevin Durant told NBC Sports Bay Area. "But what else are they supposed to do? They want us. They respect us, they definitely respect us. They want to challenge us and I can respect that."

Aside from their preferences, the Rockets have been perhaps the Warriors most engaged regular-season opponent. Over the last two seasons, they've beaten Golden State five of their last seven times. 

A large reason for the Rockets' success has been James Harden. In his last three games against the Warriors, he's averaged 33.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists. In a midseason matchup in January, with the Warriors looking to find a rhythm, Harden scored 44 points, including an overtime-clinching 3-pointer and a game-winning 3-pointer off the glass, stunning Oracle Arena after the 135-134 win and cementing himself in the MVP conversation. 

"He's had an unbelievable year," Warriors gaurd Stephen Curry said. "So everybody's trying everything at this point. But for us we have solid defensive principles that we rely on and had some success last year in the playoffs. But, again, everything's on the table in terms of just winning a playoff series against that team no matter what it takes. 

Adding to the conundrum for the Warriors is time - or lack of it. Because the Warriors squandered Game 5 against the Clippers Wednesday evening, they had to travel down to Los Angeles to beat the Clippers Friday evening, leaving less than 40 hours to prepare for the rested Rockets, who flew into the Bay Area Friday. 

"We know their team well," Kerr said. "They're tough. We know they're already in the Bay waiting for us. So it will be a quick turnaround. But this is how it goes. This is the NBA. It's just like the regular season; you get a day off and you play another game."

[RELATED: Warriors-Rockets series preview]

As the Warriors fly up the coast Friday evening, trying to suppress any complacency that's hindered them to this points, the Rockets will be rested and ready to run it back once more with the champs. 

"They have a great team," Durant said. "They proved last year that they had a chance to beat us so may the best team win." 

Warriors' Draymond Green reveals desire to retire from NBA in 10 years

Warriors' Draymond Green reveals desire to retire from NBA in 10 years

For Warriors star Draymond Green, this offseason has been all about the Benjamins.

First, Green agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract extension with Golden State, keeping the three-time All-Star from potentially entering free agency in 2020.

Then last week, one of Green’s first investments -- Smile Direct Club -- went public on the stock market and went from a $150 million valuation to a $9 billion valuation. Draymond told Forbes that his investment is now worth 40 times what it was initially.

Green was recently asked about his future plans after basketball, and the 29-year-old has no desire to slow down his money-making moves.

“Ten years from now I'd like to be retired from the NBA, engaged in a number of business ventures,” Green told Inc.com. “And well on my way to my goal of becoming a billionaire.”

Even with seven NBA seasons under his belt, Green has played an average of almost 94 games a year, including both the regular-season and postseason play. At that rate, he would end up amassing 1,593 games played for his career if he played 10 more NBA seasons, placing him second on the NBA’s all-time games played list behind Robert Parish. 

However, Green lost over 20 pounds during the 2018-19 season and took his game to a new level in the postseason, and with today’s modern technology, players are staying fresh longer than ever before. 

I mean Vince Carter is still lacing up his sneakers next to players who weren’t even born when the 42-year-old made his NBA debut.

[RELATED: Watch Warriors star Steph Curry's dance moves at brother Seth's wedding]

We’ll see if Green can parlay his very successful offseason into his on the court play when the Warriors open up the preseason on Oct. 5 at Chase Center against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Until then, keep cashing those checks, Dray.

Watch Warriors star Steph Curry's dance moves at brother Seth's wedding

Watch Warriors star Steph Curry's dance moves at brother Seth's wedding

Every Warriors fan has seen a Steph Curry shimmy.

When the two-time NBA MVP hits a big shot, the shimmy comes out. It's a move Warriors fans love and other teams hate. 

There's no hating on Steph's latest dance moves, though. The Warriors' star point guard was on Cloud Nine and showing off his dance moves over the weekend while younger brother Seth got married in Malibu. 

The Curry brothers took center stage during the playoffs last season when the Warriors and Trail Blazers faced off in the Western Conference finals. Seth scored 6.3 points per game off the bench and then signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Mavericks this offseason.

[RELATED: Check out Steph's $31M three-level mansion in Atherton]

The younger Curry brother married Callie Rivers, the daughter of Clippers coach Doc Rivers. There could be some real competitive H-O-R-S-E games at holidays between these families in the future.

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