It took a little longer than most people expected, but the Warriors are moving on to the second round of the NBA playoffs after a 129-110 Game 6 win over the Clippers on Friday night.
Their reward? A highly-anticipated matchup with the Houston Rockets, starting Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena at 12:30 pm PT.
The series, which is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals, seemed an inevitable matchup between two teams that have been among the class of the conference for the last two years.
The Rockets have readily admitted that they’re obsessed with beating the Warriors and – with Golden State in need for a formative challenge – this series should be entertaining to watch.
Here are the biggest things to watch heading into Sunday.
Projected starting lineups
F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry
F PJ Tucker
C Clint Capela
G Chris Paul
G James Harden
G Eric Gordon
Harden has had success against the Warriors this season, averaging 33.3 points, 9.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds. In Jan. 3 win over Golden State, Harden scored 44 points, adding 15 assists, 10 rebounds and hit the game-winning shot.
However, the Warriors have four potential Hall of Famers in their starting lineups in Durant, Curry, Thompson and Green. While the Rockets have taken two of three regular-season matchups, Golden State has the more talented team.
Neither bench is very good as the Rockets and Warriors rank 30th and 28th, respectively, in bench scoring during the regular season.
However, the Warriors have gotten a boost in the postseason, averaging 33.3 points per contest, ranking ninth in the playoffs. Andre Iguodala defying his age, averaging 10.5 points, 4.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds through four postseason games.
With Iguodala’s recent stretch, the champs get the slight edge.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s fingerprints are all over the Warriors’ current offensive scheme. With Phoenix Suns, he revolutionized basketball with his “Seven Seconds Or Less” offense and helped Harden become an MVP with the Rockets.
Steve Kerr isn’t too shabby either, leading the Warriors to the best six-year run in NBA history, including three championships in five playoff appearances, one at the expense of D’Antoni’s Rockets last season.
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Warriors-Rockets-Second-Round-Game-1-Playoffs-509182461.html.