While I was hoping we would get Utah in the first round, I was really hoping that we would not get the Clippers or Memphis.
The Rockets have had a tough time against those two teams over the last few seasons.
With us getting the Thunder, our depth should be enough to win the series.
Their starting lineup can certainly matchup with ours though. Westbrook and Oladipo can compete with Harden and Beverley. Adams is a similar player to Capela, although I actually like this matchup because we don’t have to worry about Capela getting overpowered by Adams.
Roberson is a terrific defender, much like Ariza. We’ve seen him give fits to Harden – and those cheap 3-point shooting fouls that James loves to draw always seem to not be called as often in the playoffs. If Roberson can find his shot (which is unlikely), then the Rockets might be in trouble.
Gibson vs Anderson is an interesting matchup. I think Gibson is athletic enough to stay with Anderson on the perimeter, so there may not be as many spot-up 3s for him. But, that should open up the lane for Harden. And if Gibson does decide to help on Harden, then Anderson may have chance for an open look.
Moving on to the rest of the West, I think it sets up about as well as it could for the Rockets.
Assuming we win Round One, we won’t have to play the Warriors or Clippers in Round 2.
Those two teams will likely be battling each other in their own Round 2 series, which could be good for the Rockets – assuming we get past our own Round 2 series. Remember when we beat the Clippers in ’15, they had just won a tough 7 game series against the Spurs.
Now, we most likely will have to play the Spurs. But the Rockets vs Spurs games this year have been 50/50 and fun to watch. Even the losses were games in which the Rockets had the lead late. I think the Rockets would feel good about their chances against the Spurs.
And, Memphis is a team that could actually pull an upset against them in the first round.
Mike Conley can compete with any PG, whether it be Parker or Mills. Tony Allen might be the best defender in the league, so if anyone can get Kawhi off his game then it would be him. And, LaMarcus Aldridge won’t have an easy task against Marc Gasol – a great player who won DPOY not too long ago AND will make Aldridge work on the defensive end.
But, the Spurs depth will likely lead them to a win and a 2nd round matchup with us.
Before that, let’s focus on the series with the Thunder.
Remember, the Thunder used to be the Sonics – a team that broke the Rockets hearts a few times… in ’96, ’93, ’89, ’87
Can’t wait for Sunday at 8.