SI.com's Ben Golliver assesses the Western Conference matchup between the Warriors and Rockets.
The Case For The Warriors
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Inside, the Warriors have a big, strong, rim-protecting center in Andrew Bogut to deploy on Dwight Howard, who has been on a tear during the playoffs. Howard averaged 15 points, and 10.5 rebounds in his two games against Golden State this season, which is manageable production from Golden State’s perspective, but he’s posting 17.2 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in the playoffs. Look for the Warriors to pay Howard extra attention, thereby daring Houston’s complementary players to pick up the slack. Green will be in position to provide help, even though Smith has been shooting the deep ball at a much better rate during the playoffs than his horrific 28.5% career average.
The Case For The Rockets
That star duo isn’t doing it alone: Ariza, Smith, Brewer, Terry, and even Prigioni have had their moments in the playoffs, especially late in the Clippers series. Confidence and cohesion are unquantifiable, but the Houston team that eliminated L.A. on Sunday—thanks to 22 points from Ariza, 15 from Smith, and 11 from Brewer—would be a tough out for anybody, Golden State included.