After defeating San Antonio Spurs in a gruelling first round Playoffs encounter, Los Angeles Clippers face another top team, Houston Rockets in the semi-finals of the Western Conference. This clash between the two is expected to be a huge one with both teams in fine form.
Clippers will be a confident unit after they knocked out the defending champions, Spurs in the first round with the series finishing 4-3. Clippers came back from 3-2 down to clinch the series, which reflects the character in their team as well.
One can expect a similar contest with the Rockets-Cavaliers clash.
The Rockets thrashed Dallas Mavericks 4-1 in their first-round clash, but with Clippers buzzing with confidence, James Harden and his teammates needs to showcase their skills as game 1 is set to be played on Monday at Toyota Center in Houston.
The Rockets after closing out the Mavs series early had plenty of time to rest, so they are going to be fresh when they host Clippers, while Clippers might have some tired legs after playing a tough game 7 against Spurs on Saturday night.
"It's been good to have our rest - (Monday's) going to be a big game for us, especially with our energy," AP quoted James Harden as saying.
"They're coming off a really tough Game 7. So we just have to do a really good job of coming out here with energy, making sure we're playing well on both ends of the floor."
The Rockets would require their star player, Harden, to fire on all cylinders. He has been the main reason for the Rockets finishing second in the western conference. The player has also carried his regular form over to the playoffs, where he showed his class and skills in the first round.
Harden averaged 28.4 in the first round series.
Clippers also have star players in the form of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but Paul might not feature in the game due to a hamstring injury, which could prove to be a huge miss for Clipper's Coach Doc Rivers.
Even if the player fails to turn up for the Clippers, it is not going to be a walk in the park for Rockets. Harden is aware of it.
"He's (Paul) a great player, obviously he's their leader," Harden said. "But they've got a really good team and Blake Griffin has been playing extremely well, also.'
Where to Watch Live
The NBA Playoffs semi-finals game 1 between Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies is scheduled for 9:30pm ET (7am IST, 2:30am BST).
Viewers in the US can watch the game live on TNT.
Indian viewers can watch it live on Sony Six.
NBA fans can also watch the Playoffs live on NBA.com