Chris Mannix unveils what separates the Houston Rockets from the Golden State Warriors

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Joining Nick Wright, Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe on First Things First, Chris Mannix unveils what separates the Houston Rockets from the Golden State Warriors. Do you agree with Mannix?

CHRIS MANNIX: We should point out too that the Warriors since the all-star break are undefeated. Last time I was on here, I think we talked about how this team could flip a switch and just turn it on. But one thing about the Rockets that's going to separate them from the Warriors-- and I talked to someone within their organization just this week-- but we're hungry. This team is as hungry as that person has seen the Rockets in recent years.

And if you're looking for some kind of separation between the Rockets and the Warriors, it's that hunger. Right now, Golden State, they believe in themselves. They're a great team. But are they as hungry as Houston? I don't think so. This is going to be their fourth year potentially going to the finals, going for another championship. This rockets team has James Harden, who still remembers the San Antonio series from last year.

They've got Chris Paul, who hasn't been out of the second round of the playoffs. These guys are in their prime type players, who recognize the potential greatness of this team. They're a top-10 defense for the first time in a very long time. So I think, yeah. I think they do have a real chance to knock them off.

NICK WRIGHT: And the Rockets I'm sure are right now value the one seed more than Golden State does.


NICK WRIGHT: Even though Golden State's had the one seed every year, I think it's important to them. I'm in the minority and say I think it would be important to them, not that they think it's important, I should say. I'm in the minority there. I think people feel like Golden State, and wherever they're at in the bracket, they're going to be the favorites. Houston, I think, looks at that as a line of demarcation.

OK, we beat you in the season series, which they already did. We can get the one seed. Those are different things that matter to them. And you mentioned Harden. Harden is going to win the MVP this year. He would pass a polygraph right now saying yeah, it should be my third and the last four years, actually.

They do have a guy who walks on the court with Golden State and says, guess who's got the best player? We do, because to me. Because I know he feels like I've been best player in this league for the last four years. And so two second place MVP finishes? Going to win this year.

- You said that the Rockets are hungry. Is it that they're hungry or is it that Golden State now they've done it. They know how to pace themselves a little better. They don't have to be hungry every single night, they have to be hungry when it's time to be hungry.

CHRIS MANNIX: I think there certainly could be truth to that. I think Golden State has had at times a rough time getting up for these mid-season games. But you combine the Rockets' hunger with the talent that they have on that roster, particularly on the defensive side of the ball now-- guys like Clint Capela-- their record with Clint Capela, James Harden, and Chris Paul, 32 in 1 this season with those three guys in the lineup. That screams something.

And, look, we can't dismiss the regular season results because last year, San Antonio, I think they beat him a couple of times during the regular season. Now, the Spurs wind up getting swept in the final, in the conference finals. But that was entirely because Kawhi Leonard missed that series. Kawhi Leonard, if he had played that whole series, I think San Antonio could have won that series.

And the Rockets, the way they'd played Golden State this season, we can't just sit back and say, well, it's Golden State pacing themselves biding their time. This rockets team is for real. If Golden State didn't exist, the Rockets would be Golden State. The Rockets would be the boogeyman that everybody is terrified of.