A popular narrative is that Houston has an edge because it’s the hungrier team. Stars like James Harden and Chris Paul have never won a title, hence they’re hungrier. The Warriors have captured two in the past three years. Golden State coach Steve Kerr, though, isn’t buying into that line of thinking.

“No, I like where we are,” Kerr told reporters Thursday ahead of Game 1 on Monday in Houston. “Our guys have rings. That’s a good position to be in. To me, the hardest championship is the first one, as an individual player and as a team, because you don’t know — you don’t quite know — if you can do it.

“Once you get the first one, there’s a little bit of house money. But you want it again because it’s an unbelievable feeling. I like our position. We’re going to go in here knowing we’re the defending champs, knowing we got a couple of championships here the last few years. Let’s go get another one. It’s a nice feeling to have and to go into a series with.”  

Houston had the NBA’s best record (65-17), meaning Golden State will be forced to do something they have never had to do during three consecutive NBA Finals trips, play a Game 1 on the road.

“They are taking the challenge, and they’re embracing it,” Kerr said of his team. “But we seem to be at our best when we are threatened. That’s been kind of the M.O. of this team. And we’re definitely threatened.”

This series should be the NBA Finals, but we’ll have to settle for it as the Western Conference Finals. It should be fun to watch!