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Game preview: Warriors welcome Houston to the Bay

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With just a few games before the All-Star break, the Warriors welcome the jeckyl-and-hyde Rockets to the Bay Area, Which Houston team will show up?

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Matchup
Rockets
Golden State Warriors
46-4 (23-0 HOME)
vs
Houston Rockets
27-26 (11-13 ROAD)
How To Watch
February 9, 2016
Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA
7:30 p.m. PST
CSN Bay Area | KNBR 680 AM
Blog Buddy: The Dream Shake
INJURIES
Festuz Esel - OUT (Knee - Indefinitely)
NONE

★★★

Team overviews

The Warriors... are coming off a marquee win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night before the Super Bowl. The superstars were out, and so were the Warriors. Led by a huge first half, they held on down the stretch against a pesky Thunder team with no quit. The two days rest at home will do the team wonders to get their legs back under them and be ready for the last push before the All-Star break.

Tuesday's game is the front end of a back-to-back, heading to face the lowly Phoenix Suns before kicking up their feet to relax for the All-Star... WAIT WE HAVE 3 ALL-STARS!! Let's hope these next two games can serve as some active time off for the big three before they head to Toronto for the big showcase.

The Warriors looked solid across the roster against OKC, and will continue to find their balanced attack Tuesday, which could include big contributions from Shaun Livingston and Marreese Speights (who is primed for some additional playing time coming up). Can Mo continue to not only be aggressive on offense but to find his defensive bearings, especially against a tough front court that the Rockets feature? Or could we some additional Jason Thompson time?

The Rockets... have been a mystery all season. After firing Kevin McHale, they have yet to truly find consistency on a roster full of enigmas and big personalities. First they bring back in Josh Smith to "help the locker room." They are also part of every big trade talk in the league as they try to take their collection of parts and make it into a winning formula.

The team currently sits at 27-26, seventh in the West and set for a crash course against either the Spurs or the Thunder. This team has talent — that is no question. James Harden is still averaging 27.8 points a game, and always plays Golden State hard. Dwight Howard shows up whenever convenient and can string together good minutes on the floor. Besides that, they have a lot of OK parts that J.B. Bickerstaff can't seem to fit together.

The Rockets give up 106.3 points per game, good for 28th in the league (see here). They have pulled together three game winning streaks, followed by four game losing streaks. Their record should be a lot worse, and they are miserable on the road.

What to make of this team?

They will accidentally make the playoffs again, and should scare a team when Howard and Harden get a home game in Houston and act like they care. Until then, they are hovering at mediocre, a long ways away from when this was a big rivalry and a good match up against the Warriors.

Last time these two locked up...

  • Oct 30th - Warriors win in Houston 112-92
  • Dec 31st - Warriors win in Houston 114-110

Predictions

The Warriors are too locked in and the Rockets are too scrambled for this one to be a challenge. I don't love the front court matchup, and I'm sure the Rockets can get hot if they want to, but the team discipline is not there, and the Warriors offense is clicking on all cylinders. This one is close-ish in the first, but the Rockets run out of steam and Golden State takes it running away in the second half 112-99.