During the years that Steve Kerr‘s Golden State Warriors dominated the league and went to the NBA Finals year after year after year, they developed a few natural rivalries. Of course, one was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who they faced in the Finals in four straight seasons. However, another rivalry they had was with the Houston Rockets. Despite the Warriors having a down year in 2019-20, it appears that that rivalry has not gone away either. In fact, Kerr just took a not-so-subtle shot at the Rockets.
The Golden State Warriors had the Houston Rockets’ number
With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, and then with Kevin Durant in the final three years, Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors went to five straight NBA Finals from 2014-15 through 2018-19.
In 2014-15, the two teams met in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors ultimately beat them in five games, as Curry averaged 31.2 points per game in the series. Then during the 2015-16 season, the Rockets were not as good as they were the previous year, as the teams met in the First Round. The Warriors then defeated them in five games again that year.
The 2017-18 meeting between the two was potentially the Rockets’ best chance at defeating the Warriors. The Rockets, led by James Harden and Chris Paul, took a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Finals. However, the Warriors ultimately won in seven games as Durant averaged 30.4 points per game in those seven games.
The Rockets and Warriors then met again in 2018-19 in the Western Conference Semifinals, and the Warriors got the best of them again in six games.
The Golden State Warriors had a down year in 2019-20
During the 2019-20 season, Kevin Durant was no longer on the Warriors as he is now on the Brooklyn Nets. Additionally, Klay Thompson did not play during the season after getting hurt during the 2019 NBA Finals, and Stephen Curry only played in five games due to injury.
This led to the Warriors having a really down year, as they went 15-50 overall and finished 15th in the Western Conference.
However, next season, the Warriors have a chance to be one of the best teams in the NBA again. Thompson and Curry will both be back, and the Warriors have the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, which they can use to either draft a young star or trade for an established one.
The Rockets, on the other hand, had a good year this year as they went 44-28 and reached the Western Conference Semifinals. However, after not getting to the NBA Finals yet again, the team parted ways with coach Mike D’Antoni and is searching for a new coach.
Steve Kerr took a shot at the Houston Rockets
Recently, Kerr got asked about any potential new concepts for the Warriors’ offense next season. In his answer, he took a not-so-subtle shot at the Rockets and how they played under D’Antoni.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re still gonna be the Warriors,” Kerr said on the Oct. 7 episode of The TK Show, according to NBC Sports. “We’re not gonna all of a sudden turn into the Rockets — change our offense — and have one guy go high pick-and-roll 70 times a game.”
Then, when Tim Kawakami of The Athletic responded by saying, “Just do that. Iso ball — where your heart is,” Kerr jokingly replied, “I think I would resign first,” according to NBC Sports.
Well, that’s a pretty good shot at the Rockets. Kerr then, of course, got a little more serious.
“We gotta be ourselves,” Kerr said, according to NBC Sports. “What makes Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) the players they are is the combination of what they can on and off the ball. That’s what moves defenses.”
He also said: “And what makes Draymond (Green) special is his ability to distribute from either the four or the five spot — to have playmaking at that level. As you watch (the) Miami (Heat) right now, you can see the influence that our team has had on the league.”
The Warriors weren’t a strong team this season. Their rivalry with the Rockets, though, is still as strong as ever.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference