Rockets GM Daryl Morey is admittedly obsessed with beating the Warriors.
And he almost got his wish last May. The Rockets had a 3-2 series lead on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals and held double-digit leads in both Game 6 and 7 before the Warriors rallied to win both games.
Nearly eight months later, Morey still hasn’t completely gotten over the sting of coming so close to knocking off the Warriors.
“Still processing,” Morey said on Wednesday on FS1’s First Things First. “Anytime it’s late at night and it’s quiet, it comes back. It’s just rare to win the title. The reality is, when one team wins three of the last four, when one team wins six like the Bulls, there aren’t a lot of opportunities. Our odds were above 50 percent at one point to win the title last year. After Game 5, we had two games to win, one at home. And so, it’s tough. But you move on and focus and we feel like we have a good shot this year.”
The Rockets’ chances of beating the Warriors this year got a little tougher last week when DeMarcus Cousins made his debut last week. The Warriors now sport a lineup featuring five All-Stars from last season.
While the Warriors are back atop of the Western Conference standings with a 33-14 record, the Rockets got off to a slow start. They’ve rebounded despite injuries to point guard Chris Paul and center Clint Capela. Reigning MVP James Harden has been on a historic tear that has vaulted the Rockets back into the middle of the playoff race.
Still, Morey understands how big of a task it will be to take down the Warriors.
“I think it’s a big gap,” Morey said. “They are an all-time great team. I don’t try to minimize them. We’re chasing them. They’re an all-time great team. Good coach, good front office. We feel like we’re the team to challenge them last year and this year. But if you win three out of four, and it should have been four out of four, you’re a pretty good team. And you add an amazing talent in Cousins, they’re a tough team. I’m not going to try to minimize that.”