Former NBA Player: Houston Is Better Than Golden State

The Rockets are the deepest team in the NBA, Jim Petersen says, and they're more dangerous than the Warriors

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 27, 2018 - 10:05 am

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The Houston Rockets (60-14) have locked up the top seed in the West, even though the math indicates otherwise. The Rockets lead the Golden State Warriors (54-19) by five-and-a-half games with eight games to go. Barring an unforeseen collapse by Houston – and a surge from the injury-riddled Warriors – the road to the NBA Finals will go through Houston.

And that’s big – because the Warriors haven’t been this vulnerable in years.

“I think the Houston Rockets are more dangerous,” Fox Sports North Timberwolves analyst Jim Petersen said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I played in an era for Don Nelson – the Run TMC era with Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond – and Nelly was ahead of his time in terms of what he did and how he coached. I think Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are phenomenal players and I think obviously they have done their thing. But seeing Houston up close and seeing what James Harden has done and the lineup combinations that Mike D’Antoni has available to him – they have better defensive players than they’ve ever had. This is a cast of characters that James Harden has never seen before. It’s the deepest team in the NBA. They have lineup combinations that can rival Golden State.”

The Rockets are 30-2 over their last 32 games, including 26-1 over their last 27. MVP frontrunner James Harden leads the NBA with 30.7 points per game, is third with 8.7 assists,  and Houston leads the league in point differential (+9.1).

The Warriors have overwhelmed teams for years; it doesn’t appear that they can overwhelm Houston.

“You can play even with the Warriors and all of a sudden, bang, they hit you with a 12-0 run and they knock you out,” Petersen said. “Houston has the ability to come back with their own 12-0 run. I think that the Houston Rockets have the ability to rival Golden State, in my mind, they’re better than Golden State. We’re going to find out."