Golden State-Houston Preview Capsule
Capsule preview of the Western Conference semifinal series between Golden State and Houston:
No. 1 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (57-25, 4-2) vs. No. 4 HOUSTON ROCKETS (53-29, 4-1)
Season series: Rockets, 3-1
Story line: The rematch of last year’s Western Conference finals comes one round earlier this time. The Rockets had a 3-2 lead before Golden State rallied to win the series on Houston’s home floor and eventually the championship. Houston won both games at Oracle Arena this season, including a 135-134 victory when James Harden made a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in overtime to cap a 44-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound performance.
Key matchup: Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul. The series last year changed after Paul injured his hamstring and was forced to miss the final two games. The Rockets need him on the floor to keep the Warriors from putting too much pressure on Harden. Curry took a backseat to Kevin Durant in the final couple games of the first-round series against the Clippers, but Golden State will need all its shooters clicking the way Houston piles up the points.
Prediction: Warriors in 7.
— AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney