Vegas Lists Golden State As Favorite Over Rockets In Western Conference Finals

NBA playoff MVPs – Ranking LeBron, Harden, Durant and more stars

Western Conference Finals is the first for childhood friends Chris Paul, PJ Tucker

The Jazz won 29 of their final 35 regular-season games to claim a playoff spot. Houston has been planning for this showdown for some time now, having built a team capable of competing with the Warriors.

The Rockets went 2-1 against the Warriors in the regular season, but the game they lost deserves a bit of an asterisk because neither James Harden nor Kevin Durant participated.

Steph Curry was looking carefree, like the knee injury never happened. Favors bounced back after a pair of injury-plagued seasons and averaged 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds and accepted a more complementary role this season. The second-seeded Golden State Warriors are on the road for Game 1 of their best of seven set with the top-seeded Houston Rockets Monday night.

When Golden State eliminated Houston in the Conference Finals in 2015, the $665 average asking price on the secondary market seemed high.

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Game 6 of that series, if necessary, would be Friday in Philadelphia, with a potential Game 7 scheduled for Sunday back in Boston.

Despite Houston's compelling regular season, the question remains: will the Rockets' passion for eradicating their postseason nightmares be enough to unmask the Warriors seasoned starting five?

The Jazz, playing without their two top point guards (the injured Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum), gamely stayed in the game even after star Donovan Mitchell was injured in the fourth quarter.

Green had another superb all-around night on both ends with 19 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

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Jordan and the Bulls went on to lose the Eastern Conference Finals later that year against the Detroit Pistons by 4-2 in the series, so Paul and the Rockets will be hoping they don't follow the same fate against the Warriors this year in the West.

The Warriors' 15th straight home play-off win also tied the National Basketball Association record set by the Chicago Bulls in 1990-91. He led the way with 28 points. The 33-year-old's game-winning display left him contemplating his first career appearance in a Conference Finals.

On Tuesday night, with Harden struggling, Chris Paul showed that he is the extra superstar that Houston was previously missing. He said, 'You get out the way. Pretty forgettable. The Warriors were massive favorites and played like it.

Rockets star James Harden, who was kept quiet with a relatively modest haul of 18 points, paid tribute to Paul's performance. "I don't know what it's supposed to feel like, but we've still got a lot of work to do".

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But now we get the matchup we've been waiting for. "He went out there and took over the game".

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