Preview: Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets. They're more injured than we are!

USA TODAY Sports

TV: CSN Bay Area / Radio: KNBR
Arena: Toyota Center
Tip-Off: 5:00 PM PT
Blog Buddy: The Dream Shake

So here's my theory: Andrew Bogut only looks secretly hurt because he's been rope-a-doping the world in preparation for tonight's battle against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets. Anybody buying it? Please, any takers?

Despite Bogut's mysterious aura of not-quite-right, and the fact that Andre Iguodala still hasn't practiced and is likely to be out at least another week, this isn't a bad time to be flying into Houston. They aren't exactly sitting pretty at peak health, either. Omer Asik, aka Somebody Find This Guy A New Home Via Trade, is out with a bruised thigh (and wait, doesn't that sound like a weird "a trade is pending, DNP him for protection" injury?), while former Oracle lightning rod Jeremy Lin is out with a knee sprain. Chandler Parsons, a notable Warrior Killer™ in the past, is dinged up and is a game time decision as of Thursday evening. Greg Smith is out too, which, well, hey — anyway, lots of injuries, not much depth, and even their decent suit game isn't enough to quell the frustration:

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via The Dream Shake

In light of all that, they took two L's this week, one from the abominable Utah Jazz and one from the — wait, the Phoenix Suns are 10-9?? They need a new tank commander. But still, two L's, lots of guys in suits, and a Golden State Warriors team coming off an emotional, and still kinda mind-blowing mega-comeback win on Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors. I was in the building for that one, and my goosebumps are still perky.

Even without the extra bodies, the Rockets stand to be a lot tougher than the Raptors should have been. They still have Dwight Howard, and they still have James Harden. I thought they'd be a top two team in the Western Conference because of those two guys, and I'm worried they still might get there if they can flip Asik for a floor-spacing power forward.

And I'll be honest: My confidence in this Warriors team is a little shaky — at least, compared to the puffed-chest brimming confidence of earlier in the season when Iguodala was glue-guying this team to blowout victories. I don't suspect many wins will come easy until he's back out on the floor. Luckily it's not usually hard to prove me wrong.

Oh, hey: subplots! There is of course that whole "Dwight Howard might be coming to the Warriors!" thing last summer, and let's be real: Bogut is salty about everything, so there's a good chance he's still salty about that whole deal. Hopefully he'll take it out on Howard. Because, remember, Bogut is faking the mysterious injury.

And speaking of guys who aren't innocent of salt, there was the whole Draymond Green/Patrick Beverley dust-up from last season's unreal shellacking, which I would not be surprised for one second if either of those guys brought up.

I do think this is an important game, as important as you're likely to find in mid-December. If all goes according to both teams' plans (though the injury-inducing basketball gods are putting that scenario in doubt), they are both are looking for home court advantage in the 2014 playoffs. They should be measuring up against each other by April, and they might be vying for a spot that can only be determined by a tie breaker. It sure would be nice to get a head start on the season matchup and keep a W in the back pocket for later, right?

Predictions

- Harrison Barnes throws a disrespectful haymaker dunk over Dwight Howard and the world rejoices.

- Stephen Curry does what Stephen Curry does, dispels the notion that Beverley is a shutdown defender, and pours in another 30 points.

- The number of sneers we see from the combined sneer-masters that are Howard and Bogut total in the 50s.

- Warriors win, 106-101.

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