The Houston Rockets consider themselves a significantly better team now than last season when they took the Golden State Warriors to seven games.
"We're as good as anybody, if not better than everybody," said Mike D'Antoni.
The Rockets began the season 11-14 but have recovered ever since with key midseason additions and better health from Chris Paul and Clint Capela. Houston has the NBA's best record and net rating since the All-Star break.
"We have more confidence than last year," Capela told ESPN after anchoring another dominant defensive effort. "But it's just the beginning, because last year we went so far. We still know we have a lot to do. It's just two wins in the playoffs. We know that we have to get 16 wins total, and it gets harder every game."