Cris Carter outlines the keys for the Houston Rockets ahead of Game 1 against Warriors

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Ahead of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals, Cris Carter outlines the keys for the Houston Rockets in their game-one matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Do you agree with Cris?

- Hunt down Stephen Curry. He said he wants them to do it. I want them to take him up on that. And by that I mean, get Steph involved in pick-and-rolls where he has to guard the ball handler.

And I want to make this clear. I am not saying that because I think Steph's a terrible defender. I don't even think Steph's a below average defender. But I think Steph has shown a propensity in his career, particularly in these types of games, to not have the ability to stay out of foul trouble, to not have the ability to keep his hands out, to not try to draw the 50-50 block charge call.

And if you can get Steph Curry with two early fouls, you are at a distinct advantage, even if he doesn't get early fouls. If you can tire him out, if you can wear him out to a degree, if you can make him less explosive on the offensive end, you are at a decisive advantage. So that is the Rockets-- they didn't say, but it was reported that's what they were going to try to do.

Steph got wind of that. Said this weekend, I hope they do it every play. The Rockets didn't take him up on that. That, to me, is something that can give the Rockets an edge in a game that is critically important to them.

CRIS CARTER: Yeah, it's not a Rockets' philosophy. That's the NBA philosophy. That's what you have to do to great players, especially guys who are undersized, are small. You have to be able to make them work on the offensive end. That's one of the reasons why the Celtics put Marcus Morris in, also, so LeBron would have to work on the defensive end.

Now, it's a different type of work than running around picks. But if you are a guard in the NBA, especially in the Western conference, you know this is what they're going to try to do, so it's not just Steph Curry. Like, if you are that type of guard, especially the way they play with the pace, you're going to have to run through a lot of picks. You're going to have to play a lot of defense.

What I think is important are the role players of Houston and Clint Capela. Can he make the Warriors adjust? Can he dominate the paint? Can he be there on the lobs, on the pick-and-roll, that would make Steve Kerr and the Warriors say, you know something? Us playing small is not the best concept for us. Or when we do play small, we can only play for a short period of time.

So role players, but more importantly, Clint Capela, watch his role, what he does. If he scores 15 to 20 points, I believe that right there makes the Warriors-- I mean, makes Houston almost unbeatable, if the other guys, Chris Paul and of course Harden, have the type of games that we're expecting.

- I'm so glad you mentioned that. That's the second point I was going to make with Clint Capela, and I want to build on it. I don't think they're going to start The Hamptons Five tonight. I don't think Andre Iguodala is going to get the start. I think because of Capela being such an important X factor, I think Kevon Looney will start at center for the Golden State Warriors tonight. I think they trust him. Zaza is basically unplayable against the Rockets.

CRIS CARTER: He's a cheerleader on the bench.

- Right. And I--

- Watch him when they shoot 3. The one with the big head, he'll be cheering, dapping people up on the side.

- And I don't know if they trust JaVale's basketball intelligence to be able to deal with as many high screen-and-rolls as they're going to run. I would imagine the Warriors will start Kevon Looney. Because-- I think they agree with your point, Cris-- that Clint Capela getting off, Clint Capela getting Draymond in foul trouble, Clint Capela getting those little lobs from James Harden that he loves to throw, that's something that that starting five they used in the final two games against the Pelicans doesn't have a great answer for.