NBA: Golden State Warriors not without weaknesses, say Paul Pierce and Jalen Rose

Paul Pierce and Jalen Rose, former NBA players, believe that while Warriors is packed with quality, the team isn’t without a few chinks in the armour.

Golden State Warriors is the heavy favourite to clinch a third consecutive NBA title.   -  AP

Golden State Warriors (GSW) starts the NBA playoffs as the heavy favourite to go all the way and win a third-straight title. The star cast of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins pose an intimidating threat on the court.

Former NBA players Paul Pierce and Jalen Rose — both ESPN analysts now — believe that while GSW is packed with quality, the team is not without a few chinks in the armour.

Pierce, a 10-time All-Star, stated that GSW lacks bench strength. “There is a lack of depth in GSW. If guys get into foul trouble, it could be a problem,” Pierce said, in a telephonic conservation arranged by Sony Pictures Networks India on Friday.

Rose, on the other hand, is concerned about the fitness of Curry, who injured his ankle in a recent outing against New Orleans Pelicans. Rose added that GSW players should keep their temper in check when interacting with referees. “Draymond, Boogie (Cousins) and K. D. (Durant) — they’re going to be tough on the officials, and that can play a factor with foul trouble,” Rose said.

‘Terrific’ James Harden

Houston Rockets, led by the sensational James Harden, has also staked a claim to the title. “Houston has to make their three-pointers. They had a chance to win last year (in Game 7 against GSW of the Western Conference Finals), but they missed 27 straight three-pointers at a crucial juncture. Also, while James Harden has been terrific, they’re going to need Chris Paul to stay healthy and play at a high level,” Rose said.

Read | Western Conference first-round series by the numbers

Pierce is hopeful that Harden will step up to the plate, unlike his disastrous show in Game 6 of the 2017 NBA Western Conference Semifinals against San Antonio Spurs. Harden’s poor performance in that outing has led to questions being asked about his big-match temperament. “Houston has had a problem in the past, with Harden having that one horrendous game in a crucial playoff fixture. Other than that, if he can play at an MVP level, they have all the ingredients of a champion side,” Pierce said.

GSW takes on Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference first round on Sunday, while Houston faces Utah Jazz. If the first round results go their way, GSW and Houston will clash in the semifinal.