The Houston Rockets finished the regular season with a 65-17 record, the best in the NBA at the time and in franchise history. However, they were unable to capture the NBA championship after losing a dramatic seven-game series in the Western Conference finals to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant were one of the most skilled teams in NBA history, winning their third title in four years. Houston would have been a strong favorite if James Harden had been available. “Our game plan was to let James Harden do all he was going to do,” Draymond Green said.
Harden and Paul are currently All-Star guards for the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns, respectively. James joined the Los Angeles Lakers less than a month after the Cavaliers were swept in the 2018 NBA Finals. But credit goes to Green, who undoubtedly played a key role in the passionate Houston-Golden State rivalry during those years, for recognizing the strength of his opponent. When Harden lost his potential Hall of Famer, the Warriors still had Curry, Durant, Green, and Klay Thompson, so the plan worked out rather well.