Rockets' superstars James Harden and Chris Paul are two of the greatest players in the league who share an unwanted commonalty - they've never won a title.
"You have to be nearly flawless in what you do and we weren't good enough to overcome the level of talent they have on the court".
"Before we get started ..." he began.
The Rockets, now that's a different story. Houston beat Minnesota in five games in the first round and dispatched Utah in five in the conference semifinals as they took a 112-102 win at home Tuesday night.
"We are going to see if they are going to be able to adjust and at times be uncomfortable", said Kenny Smith, TNT analyst and two-time champion with the Rockets. We got them. Got to go out and play. "I don't know what it's supposed to feel like, but we've still got a lot of work to do".
Draymond Green almost had a triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out nine assists. Point blank. These are the two best offenses in the National Basketball Association, but there's going to have to be stops at certain points to win the game. Paul was seen as a flawless point guard for head coach Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system, but how would he handle splitting ball-handling duties with Harden?
2014-15: Warriors defeat Rockets 4-1 in Western Conference Finals.
Houston's point guard might not want to take any time off, considering the way he ended the second round.
Harden loves that he has so many players around him that have led to the team's success this season and thinks that will be valuable moving forward. They should try and make a pitch for either Carmelo Anthony or Paul George, but Utah is over the cap. "It's about the process".
These two teams met three times this season, with Houston winning two of the three meetings.
In Houston's last outing - which saw the Rockets eliminate the Utah Jazz - CP3 dropping 41 points and almost had a triple-double (10 assists and seven rebounds). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the first playoff game of at least 40 points, 10 assists and no turnovers since turnovers became an official statistic 40 years ago, and it's hard to believe anyone had 10 turnovers before that, because old-school coaches would bench even a star who was that careless with the ball.
"The whole world's been waiting for this matchup", Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal said in his role as an analyst Tuesday night on TNT. With the Western Conference Finals approaching, they're getting their wish. Their greatest number of points scored was 123 in Game 1, a 22-point margin of victory.
The Jazz were without Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum because of hamstring injuries.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey addressed that need by adding P.J. Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in free agency.
Houston has averaged 17.2 points per game in Isolation situations and 19.2 points per game in Transition this year. He set multiple franchise rookie records and finished the season leading Utah in scoring at 20.5 points per game. Mitchell appeared to bang knees with Harden on the play, and he had to leave the game for x-rays. Mitchell remained in a crouch on the other end, pointing to the back of his left leg.