The Number one seeded and defending champion Golden State Warriors will face off with the 8th seeded Houston Rockets in Game one of the Western Conference playoffs. The Warriors had the most dominant season in NBA history passing the Chicago Bulls with an astounding 73-9 record in which they never lost back to back games and they never lost to he same team twice. The Rockets were somewhat of a disappointment this season and needed a win on the last day of the regular season just to make the playoffs.
Point Guard- Stephen Curry vs. Patrick Beverly.
Curry led the NBA in scoring for the second consecutive season and will likely repeat as league MVP when the winner is announced. He is a unique talent and has proven that last season was no fluke. There is no better player in the NBA. Beverly is somebody that could potentially give Curry problems with his elite defensive abilities. If Beverly could disrupt Curry it would slow down the fast paced Warriors attack. However few have been able to do that this season, much less do it consistently over the course of a five game series.
ADVANTAGE- Golden State
Shooting Guard- Klay Thompson vs. James Harden
This matchup features two of the games elite scoring guards. Harden did not get the same MVP consideration that he received last season but most of that has to do with the Rockets disappointing record because statistically he was just as dominant. Thompson increased his scoring average from last season and improved his overall game to become a better overall player and not just a three-point shooter.
Small Forward- Harrison Barnes vs. Trevor Ariza
Barnes is one of the most improved players in the league and one of the reasons that the Warriors are somehow an even better team than they were last season. He is versatile defensively, able to defend the post as well as the perimeter. On offense he is just as comfortable playing off the ball as he is with the ball in is hands. Ariza is a one-dimensional three-point shooter who can hit jumpers in bunches if you leave him open. His length and athleticism make him disruptive on the defensive end.
ADVANTAGE- Golden State
Power Forward- Draymond Green vs. Donatas Montiejunas
Green has emerged as one of the best all around players in the league. He averaged 15 points, almost 10 rebounds and an astounding 7.7 assists per game often moving over to center in their “small ball” lineup and while defending much bigger/taller post players. Montiejunas started the year injured and has taken a while to find his groove.
Center- Andrew Bogut vs. Dwight Howard
Howard is still the shot blocker and overall defender he has always been. However on the offensive end he is pretty much just an offensive rebounder and hardly ever gets traditional post ups. Bogut had his healthiest and most productive season in years and is a facilitator in their offense from the high post.
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