National Basketball Association playoffs scores: Warriors and Rockets take 3-1 series leads

Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry tries to get past New Orleans Pelicans Rajon Rondo in the first period of Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals at Oracle Arena in Oakland Calif. on Tuesday

Is the playoff stigma officially off Chris Paul now?

Eastern on TNT as the No. 1 Houston Rockets host No. 2 Golden State Warriors.

I understand why Durant feels that way, though.

The Warriors, however, to be as confident as they are careful entering the matchup between the top two teams of the Western Conference.

The Warriors are in search of their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, but the league's best team stands in their way, as Houston went 65-17 during the regular season. Rozier has been playing at a very high level scoring at least 15 points in eight of the playoff games the Celtics have played in these playoffs. While their starting lineup of Davis, Mirotic, Holiday, Rondo, and E'Twaun Moore is formidable, they have to rely on their starters for most of the game. The Rockets will have to take it from them.

Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and James Harden were All-Stars (and three of them are among the top-5 best players in the league right now), and we know Chris Paul would have been one had he not been injured early in the season.

Is Houston a threat? He either scored or assisted on 26 of Houston's 37 points in the final frame, which included all 18 of the team's points over the last six minutes of the game. There's every reason to believe the Rockets are as strong an opponent as any the Warriors have faced in the Western Conference over the last four years.

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Houston wins series 4-1.

"Our guys have rings", Kerr reminded reporters.

The series price grew to Golden State -190 in the first two hours after it had posted.

Against the New Orleans Pelicans, Golden State averaged 115 points in five games, giving up 106.4.

Teams use the playoff pool largely for bonuses for players and staff after the season.

The Warriors have won two of the last three National Basketball Association titles, both at the expense of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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But the "appropriate fear" is built into this series' schedule.

"We're not about to run around like, 'Yeah, we want to play them in the conference finals.' For what?"

This proves that the Warriors have another gear or two in their game as they have yet to peak their full lineup while the Rockets are predicted to be on the ropes all series long as they rely on floor general CP3 and MVP frontrunner James Harden to carry the load. Once you get the first one, there's a little bit of house money.

But the only way to do that is to have "appropriate fear" in your gut and use that as fuel for a strong start that never lets up.

Morey also knew that title-chasing meant going through Golden State.

"He said you get out of the way". "I like where we are", Kerr told reporters on Thursday, as reported by ESPN. "The rest of that stuff will figure itself out". The Warriors core bench of Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West, and Quinn Cook will give them an edge over the Pelicans. Golden State this season, with their last meeting being held on January 20 in which Houston claimed a 116-108 victory at the Toyota Center.

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