Point: Golden State's Stars Capture Game 1 of West Finals in Houston

warriors stars

Doug Upstone

Friday, May 11, 2018 1:00 PM UTC

Friday, May. 11, 2018 1:00 PM UTC

All NBA fans and hoops bettors are waiting with anticipation for the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets to get started in the Western Conference Finals on TNT Monday evening.

Monday's Game 1: Golden State Warriors at Houston RocketsFree NBA Pick: WarriorsBest Line Offered: Bovada

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Though I'm not a big fan of boxing anymore, this Golden State vs. Houston confrontation should be remarkable. In one corner, we have the champion Warriors, who have been The Association kings in two of the past three years and were one game (three times) from coming into this series as three-peat champions. In the other corner is the challenger, Houston, whose recent playoffs was nearly as painful to watch as the recent groin injury suffered by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

But as Rockets GM Daryl Morey has stated, he's been obsessed the past three years about improving his roster to be good enough to defeat Golden State. Having assembled the best record in the league and beating the Warriors twice, Houston feels this is their time. Yet, not everyone feels that as the NBA odds from all of SBR's top-rated sportsbooks have Steve Kerr's crew as series favorites around -190.

Having been introduced to Swinging Johnson at SBR, on a Skype call, he tried to convince me Houston wins the series opener. But I disagreed and here is what I told him.

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Take a look back at some of the best plays, and even better bench reactions, from the Dubs in the first 2 rounds of the #NBAPlayoffs 👀 😄 pic.twitter.com/zMUnboXq6d

— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 10, 2018
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Experience and Talent Matter in the Moment

"Swinging" made several salient points and in full disclosure, I'm not 100 percent sure Golden State wins Game 1, but I'm all but certain Steph and KD will earn a split in H-Town.

When the Warriors won their first title since 1975 three years ago, the Big 3 of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green wase better than LeBron James. (Kevin Love was already sidelined and Kyrie Irving was hurt in Game 1.) The following year, they met on an even level and Cleveland stars outplayed Golden State, especially in sweeping the last three contests. That was why the Warriors' front office went after Kevin Durant. And if you watched last year's, at times the Cavaliers outplayed Golden State, but Durant was the difference-maker.

That is where I see the four stars of the Warriors having a great chance for NBA picks in the lid-lifter, those experiences and knowing how to react matter. Having four legitimate scoring options is also a major plus.

"Swinging" told me he's been impressed with the Rockets' newfound toughness. With him being from Northeast part of the country, having toughness is an everyday part of life, and he was coming at me about being soft living in the Arizona desert. But as I explained to him, already having my tan and taking Golden State, I just look like a winner! (and so do the Warriors).

And What Is Rather Pale Swinging's Rockets Retort?
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