However, Houston is now listed as a two-point favorite over Golden State in Game 1 of the series, which will be Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
The Rockets don't need to talk anymore. The Warriors lost five of their six games as underdogs during the regular season.
Can Chris Paul and James Harden lead the HoustonRockets to the NBA Finals?
"We don't have to run around talking about how bad we want to play somebody", Warriors forward Draymond Green said, pointedly.
"We want to win another championship", Green said, "and it don't matter who's in the way of that". The Warriors faced the Rockets, Thunder and Spurs in the first three, in that order.
This time, though, Houston has the home-court advantage that comes with being the No. 1 seed. Also, the Warriors have the defense to topple the stars of the Rockets.
Oh, and the Rockets have one other thing: The Warriors' attention.
"I'd probably watch all 97 games all over again before we get back". They've got us and we've got them. You know, this is a great opportunity for us. Yet, the Warriors sounded mindful and understanding of the tug-and-pool Curry and the coaching staff faced in accelerating his progress without overwhelming him.
Think the Warriors launch from long-range?
Both teams enter the conference finals match-up sporting identical 8-2 playoff records, but Green insisted that the Warriors did not share the Rockets' single-minded focus on the budding rivalry. The key to beating Houston? Rudy Gobert finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
The 33-year-old scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, answering everything the Jazz tried to do in order to close out the game and series.
It's fun to follow the NBA regular season and watch the best basketball players in the world do wonderful things, and the first two rounds of the playoffs have certainly had some thrilling moments. Just minutes after Utah pulled to within one, he knocked down four consecutive jumpers and a heat check 3-pointer, giving Houston a nine-point lead with two minutes left to play in regulation. "We have to stay in front of them". However, the last time these two teams met in the playoffs the Warriors beat the Rockets in five.
Or in June, when the Rockets landed Chris Paul. All right now, they're in the way.
Paul scored 41 points, making eight 3-pointers to go along with seven rebounds, 10 assists and no turnovers in the Rockets' 112-110 series-clinching win over the Jazz on Tuesday. Big man Clint Capela is a double-double machine (13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds per game in regular season) and tremendous rim protector (NBA-best 2.80 blocks per game in postseason) whose 24.55 Player Efficiency Rating ranked 13th in the National Basketball Association.
All understandable. That stuff has been said for about a year now.