Karl: Rockets Play Better Defense Than Warriors

George Karl believes Houston will advance to the NBA Finals

Taz and the Moose
April 26, 2018 - 9:35 am

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As impressive as teams like New Orleans and Utah have been in the first round of the playoffs, the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors appear on a collision course to meet in the Western Conference Finals.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” former NBA Coach of the Year George Karl said on Taz & The Moose. “In my mind, they’re the two best teams in the league right now – and they have been probably most of the year. Golden State has been kind of messing around with it, and they showed some signs in the first series that they’re getting serious.”

The Warriors went 7-10 in their final 17 games of the regular season – and lost at Utah by 40 in their regular-season finale. Still, that didn’t stop them from dispatching the Leonard-less Spurs in five games in the first round of the playoffs.

Golden State hosts New Orleans in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET.

“I do think they need to get Steph back on the court,” Karl said. “In the second round, they hopefully get him back on the court, get the rust off, get him into a little bit of flow and rhythm and playing, and then (Rockets/Warriors) could be a great series. I think in the end it will be the team that will win the NBA Final.”

The Warriors are seeking their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, but Karl believes Houston will advance.

“I’ll be honest with you: I’ve been a big Golden State fan. I think they’re on the verge of being a dynasty,” Karl said. “But I think Houston actually plays better defense than the Golden State Warriors. Right now, if I had to bet on that series, I would give the edge maybe to Houston because of their defense.”

The Rockets haven’t reached the NBA Finals since winning back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995. They last reached the conference finals in 2015, losing to the Warriors in five.