“They’re the best team,” D’Antoni told The Athletic. “They’re the champs right now. They’ve proven it, and they’ve got nothing to prove.”
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni thinks his team can compete with the two-time defending champion Warriors.
Houston battled Golden State in the Western Conference finals in 2017-18 and held a 3-2 series lead before ultimately falling in Game 7. The two teams have a chance to meet again in the playoffs this season.
The Rockets started slowly but have turned it around and enter play Wednesday in third place of the West. Meanwhile, Golden State is once again leading the conference.
“Well, I thought we had a great crack last year, so I don’t know — we’ll see,” D’Antoni recently told The Athletic. “I’m confident, as I was when we were 11-14, that we’ll give them a run.
“Now they might beat us. They’re the best team. They’re the champs right now. They’ve proven it, and they’ve got nothing to prove.”
D’Antoni said he hasn’t seen much of the Warriors since they re-signed center Andrew Bogut last month.
“They are different, much different,” D’Antoni said. “They’re even different with (Bogut). And you know they’re going to turn it on, but we just — we like what we’ve got.”
Houston opened the season with an 11-14 record. D’Antoni, however, said the team never lost confidence in itself.
“We never lost faith,” D’Antoni said. “The players never lost faith. And I kept telling them, obviously it’s great that you don’t lose faith but if you think you’re OK y’all are crazy. We’re not OK, but we will be OK, and you have to have that confidence.
“They just kept believing, kept going, and they were really good. …They knew they were going to turn it around.”
The Rockets will enter their matchup with the Clippers on Wednesday with a 50-28 record. They have four regular-season games remaining.