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After Houston closed out the Utah Jazz with a 100-93 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday, Capela was asked about the possibility of facing Golden State in the second round.
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Capela wants the Warriors
“Yeah…that’s what I want,” Capela told reporters. “I want to face them.”
Capela—who boldly claimed in January 2018 that Houston was “better” than Golden State Iisn’t the only Rockets player to hold that feeling given the way the teams’ last postseason meeting ended. Head coach Mike D’Antoni admitted as much during his postgame press conference:
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Mike D’Antoni’s response to potentially facing the Warriors in the second round …
“We said all year, ‘Let’s run it back.’ Well, okay. OKAYYY.” https://t.co/bZJ6s8plJc
Last May, Houston held a 3-2 series lead over Golden State in the Western Conference Finals, only to have Chris Paul miss the final two outings after he suffered a hamstring injury at the end of Game 5. The Rockets would go on to lose those contests, missing out on a chance to dethrone the defending champs and make their first trip to the NBA Finals since 1995.
It remains the only time in the two-plus years (eight series) of the Kevin Durant era that a team pushed the Warriors to more than five games in a series.
Now, Paul is healthy, and the Rockets are on a roll. They have won 10 of their last 12 games and have lost just five times in their last 30. It’s also worth noting they went 3-1 against the Warriors during the regular season, though they lost their most recent meeting back on March 13.
As much success as Houston had against Golden State during the regular season, All-Star Chris Paul made sure not to overreact:
Sitting next to Capela during Wednesday’s postgame press conference, Paul jokingly told his teammate that he’d wind up on Bleacher Report for his comments. (Spoiler alert: He was right.)
A rematch is what Houston has worked for all season, and it appears as though they may get that opportunity.
“I think that if you want to be champion, you’ve got to beat the champion,” Capela added. “At some point, you’ve got to do it, right?”
Golden State held a 3-1 series lead over the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers at the time of the press conference, with Game 5 in progress on Wednesday night. The Rockets will have to wait and see who they will face in the second round, but they will be more than ready for the showdown if it does wind up being the Warriors.