After a 116-108 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, Houston Rockets Center Clint Capela made some pretty big claims, telling ESPN his squad is superior to the defending NBA champions:
“I think that, if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do on defense — all the switches, the weak side — and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them,” Capela said. “We are better than them.”
According to game play records, the Rockets bested the Warriors in two of their three meetings this season, including a 122-121 win on Opening Night on the Warriors’ home floor.
The Warriors’ only win came in a 124-114 contest at Houston’s Toyota Center on January 4, and the two teams are not scheduled to meet each other again in the regular season.
As of January 22, the Rockets sat in second place in the NBA’s Western Conference with a record of 32-12, just 3.5 games behind Golden State’s 37-10 record.
That said, despite Houston’s win last night, the Warriors are back on top today – January 23 – with a record of 37-10, three games ahead of the Rocket’s now 33-12, 3-game win streak.
If the two teams end the regular season with identical records, however, the Rockets would win the tie-breaker due to their superior head-to-head record.
In an interview with the sports blog The Undefeated, Rockets guard James Harden backed up Capela’s claim of his squad possessing what it takes to lead Houston its first NBA title since 1995:
“We’re for real, for real. We are for real as it can get,” Harden said in an interview with The Undefeated. “I have never been this confident playing in my entire career, not only by adding Chris [Paul] but the rest of our team. We have a team with depth that at any moment can impact the game. We just got to stay locked in the rest of the season.”
Speaking of “undefeated,” Harden and Capela may be with every right to feel so confident:
According to NBA stats, the games where Harden, Capela and guard Chris Paul are all on the court at the same time, the Rockets are 17-0.
Of course, the Warriors’ Kevin Durant didn’t take the claims lightly:
Clint Capela said the Rockets are better than the Warriors.
KD's response: pic.twitter.com/ZJ9DYl9eX4
— ESPN (@espn) January 23, 2018
Hopefully we’ll see later this season during the NBA finals. #knockonwood