We have the finalists of the Eastern Conference Finals. Those two teams were the 1st and 2nd in the regular season, Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors are headed to the Western Conference Finals after earning a 4-2 series victory against the Grizzlies. If the Rockets win, we'll have the 1st and the 2nd seed in both conferences. If the Clippers win, we'll have the 1st and the 3rd seed from the Western Conference.
Who is under more pressure in Game 7, Chris Paul or James Harden?
It's Chris Paul. They had 3-1 and a game on the home court, and they lost two games in a row.
Houston Rockets comeback from a 19-point third-quarter deficit to stay alive with a 119-107 Game Six win over the Clippers at Staples Center…. No team had staved off playoff elimination with that large a comeback since the Mavericks, also down 19, stormed back to take a 103-91 win at San Antonio in Game Five of the 2003 Western Conference Finals. The Spurs won at Dallas two days later to take the series and went on to defeat the Nets in the Finals.
The Houston Rockets are the favorites today. They have well rested James Harden, and they have the home court against the Clippers.
James Harden is the most disappointing player in this series. Lucky for Houston, because they have Dwight Howard, Jason Terry, Josh Smith, Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer to step up when James Harden is playing well.
Redemption of James Harden
He is in the Top 3 SG in the league. He scores 27.4 pts in the regular season and has led the Rockets to the 2nd position without Dwight Howard and Terence Jones. But where is he in the playoff? He scored only 24.5 points in the Conference Semifinals, and he only once scored more than 30 points against the Clippers.
You can look at James Harden's shot chart in the season and playoffs 14/15 and against the Clippers.
JJ Redick is playing excellent defense against James Harden. And the whole Clippers team defense has had an adjustment because of James Harden's offense. Can they stop him one more game or will James Harden use his offensive weapon to beat the Clippers in the most important game this season?
The Playoffs History
The last time Houston Rockets played in the Western Conference Finals was 18 years ago (1996-97) when they lost against Utah Jazz 2-4. After 18 years, they have the opportunity to repeat Hakeem Olajuwon's success.
Los Angeles Clippers have never played in the Western Conference Finals. They played three times in the Western Conference Semifinals and never won this series in their history. They lost against Thunder 2-4 (2013-14); Spurs 0-4 (2011-12) and Suns 3-4 (2005-6). Can Chris Paul and Blake Griffin make history against James Harden and Dwight Howard?
Chris Paul: Under the Pressure
He is one of the best players in the league. He has never played in the NBA Finals and he lost three Western Conference Semifinals in his career. He lost against the Spurs (2007-08) when he played for New Orleans Hornets and against the Thunders (2013-14) and Spurs (2011-12) in the Clippers jersey.
With Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin, he creates the Clippers’ offense, and he builds one of the best defenses in the NBA Playoffs 2015. They beat the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in Game 7. Can they repeat that and beat the Houston Rockets on their home court?
Blake Griffin's Offense against Dwight Howard’s Defense
I will not talk about Dwight Howard against DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin against Terence Jones. DH and BG have significant advantages in those duels, but we have something different here.
In the regular season, Griffin scores 21.9 pts. In this series against the Rockets, he is scoring 26.8 points, and nobody can stop him in the offense. He can score in the post up, he can score from the distance, and he can fly and dunk and nobody can block him in the air. Today, with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin must score more than 26 points if they want to take the game against the Houston Rockets. Also, he has had 12.5 more rebounds in this series; that is 5 more than he had in the regular season.
Dwight Howard is a rim protector. The last time he played excellent defense, Orland Magic played in the NBA Finals. In these playoffs, we have great Dwight Howard, who knows what the best thing to do is. That is not offense, but defense. The defense is his superstar quality. DeAndre Jordan can't stop him in the offense, and he can use that very well.
JJ Redick, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and Austin Rivers against Trevor Ariza, Josh Smith, Jason Terry and Corey Brewer. In the last game, the Rockets' wings beat the Clippers. Today, the Clippers’ backcourt must step up, but the Rockets will attack once again. Whoever wins this one will be very close to winning Game 7.
Los Angeles Clippers VS Houston Rockets
I’m expecting a great game today, and I guess that we can see OT in Game 7. The Houston Rockets are the favorites, but the Clippers and Chris Paul don't care about that.
The Golden State Warriors are waiting for you. Stephen Curry wants to play in the NBA Finals. Who can stop him, the Houston Rockets or the Los Angeles Clippers?