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Preview: Warriors hope to return focus to the basketball court as they visit the Rockets

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Stephen Curry is out with an injury, but all eyes will be on the Kevin Durant and Draymond Green dynamics.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets
Aww, remember the good ol’ days?

Praise Threesus — it’s time to get these guys back on the court and out of their own heads!

Game Details

WHO: Golden State Warriors (12-3) at Houston Rockets (6-7)

WHEN: Thursday, November 15 5 p.m.

WHERE: Toyota Center — Houston, TX

WATCH: NBCSBA, TNT

RADIO: 95.7 The Game

Blog Buddy: The Dream Shake

After a shaky start, the Rockets are starting to get back on track

Houston has not looked much like the team that took the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals last year. Oh, they aren’t completely changed — they still jack up more threes than a kindergarten teacher counting numbers for a room full of ill-behaved toddlers, but it just hasn’t been working out as well for them this year. Though they’ve won two straight — and five of their last seven — they still find themselves below .500.

So what gives?

For one thing, their threes just aren’t falling so far this season. The team leads the league in attempts but are only hitting them at a 33% clip (the 25th ranked such mark in the league) — that’s bad enough to land them almost dead last in points per game.

Similarly, their defense has vanished. Last season, they ended the year with the 7th best defense in the association. I would even go so far to say that their defensive excellence was more critical to their success than offense last season. This year? You guessed it: bottom half of the league. Opponent effective field goal percentage (or the measure of how efficiently teams score against you) went from 13th last year to 23rd this year.

But as mentioned above, the team has won two straight, and five of their last seven games. What changed? For one, they jettisoned the human embodiment of the mid-range jumper, Carmelo Anthony. They’ve also just started hitting their shots, which is extremely valuable in any era of basketball ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

[Fergie voice] Let’s play some (Warriors) basketball!!!!

This should be interesting.

The Warriors have only lost three games so far this season, but their most recent loss against the Los Angeles Clippers may have had the most profound effect on the Warriors dynasty as any other in our history. After serving a one game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, Draymond Green will return to the court. Just based off what we’ve seen, you can be assured that there’s going to be a certain tension to the team.

As per Anthony Slater of the Athletic, Durant’s post game interview was... terse:

Have you and Draymond been able to hash anything out?

“Nah.”

Do you see that happening any time soon?

“I’m sure we will. Got a long season ahead.”

Did he cross the line with anything last night that was said?

“I’m going to keep that in-house. That’s what we do here. Obviously, I know you guys got a job to do, but I’m not trying to give nobody no headlines. What happened happened. We trying to move on, play basketball.”

So they will though — play basketball, that is (moving on is a much less certain equation, and one that can’t be solved right now).

There have been a lot of words spilled about the whole deal, so I’m not going to go off on this. But I will share a very personal anecdote about when my Dad died unexpectedly. I took some time away to process, talked about it a lot, dealt with whatever I had to deal with. But you know what really seemed to get me over the hump? Going back to work. I didn’t want to talk any more, didn’t want to dwell on it and think too much; and working allowed me to succumb to that. There’s a certain single-minded purity of purpose to going back to work that can help push a lot of noise out to the periphery.

Here’s hoping that a return to basketball normalcy will be just as much of a healing force for this team — because right now, it’s pretty clear that everyone is shook. Just like Durant said in his interview though, moving on and “just playing basketball” go hand-in-hand.