Daryl Morey Says Beating Warriors Is 'Only Thing' Rockets Think About

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2017

FILE- In this April 19, 2011, file photo, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey discusses the direction of the team with the media during a basketball news conference in Houston, after the decision to part ways with head coach Rick Adelman. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)
Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey may be putting the cart before the horse, but he and the rest of the team are focused on dethroning the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Morey told ESPN Radio's Ryen Russillo on Thursday that beating the Warriors is "the only thing we think about":

"I think I'm not supposed to say that, but we're basically obsessed with 'How do we beat the Warriors?' Last year the Spurs knocked us off, so we're very worried about the Spurs, they're always one step ahead of every organization and guard us better than anyone. But we calculated it—it's like 90 percent if we're gonna win a title, we've gotta obviously beat the Warriors at some point. So we're extremely focused on that. A lot of our signings and what we do during the year is based on that."

It's not as if Morey's comments are revelatory. He told ESPN.com's Zach Lowe in June the Warriors' dominance would force the Rockets to consider "[upping] our risk profile and [getting] even more aggressive."

Later that month, Houston acquired Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Of course, some may contend the Rockets should worry about simply getting to the Western Conference Finals first before pondering a possible matchup with the Warriors. Since James Harden arrived in 2012-13, Houston has made one conference finals appearance in five playoff trips.

Three of those postseason appearances ended in the first round, and the Rockets were one of the biggest disappointments of last year's playoffs when they lost to the Spurs in six games in the second round. Harden was 2-of-11 shooting for 10 points in the final game of the series.

The Rockets are doing what they can to atone for that 39-point defeat. They own the best record in the NBA (25-5), and they're second in net rating (10.7) behind the Warriors, according to NBA.com. Harden is once again a strong MVP contender by averaging 31.9 points and 9.0 assists.

Houston beat Golden State 122-121 on opening night, but the teams' pair of January matchups should be much better indicators as to whether the Rockets are close to bridging the gap with the Warriors.

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