ith all due respect to the San Antonio Spurs, third in the West, the two best teams in the conference are Golden State and Houston.
Both ardent believers in the NBA’s three-point renaissance, the Rockets and the Warriors have also adapted to become elite defensive teams. The Warriors are third in defensive rating, the Rockets seventh.
While it could be reasonably assumed that this was the case, Rockets GM Daryl Morey made a candid admission when he said beating the Warriors is “the only thing we think about.”
“I think I’m not supposed to say that, but we’re basically obsessed with ‘How do we beat the Warriors?’” he said on ESPN radio. “Last year the Spurs knocked us off, so we’re very worried about the Spurs. They’re always one step ahead of every organization and guard us better than anyone. But we calculated it – it’s like 90 percent if we’re gonna win the title, we’ve gotta obviously beat the Warriors at some point. So we’re extremely focused on that. A lot of our signings and what we do during the year is based on that.”
In that regard, the offseason additions of Chris Paul, Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker should help compete with the Warriors. But coach Steve Kerr couldn’t help himself when responding to a question about Houston.
“They’ve been great,” Kerr said. “I thought they made some really good offseason additions. They’re better defensively, and obviously Chris Paul gives them a different dimension. They’ve been destroying everybody, so they’ve got a hell of a team. But I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about them. I think about what I’m going to have for breakfast. … I also think about lunch. And what we’re going to do at practice and what movie my wife and I are going to watch that night.”
Credit Kerr for being honest. The teams meet for a second time on Jan. 4.