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Warriors at Rockets preview: Trying to build on an exciting win

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The young Warriors will try to build some confidence against the Rockets after an exciting win at home.

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Just a few days ago, people were writing about how the Golden State Warriors’ starting lineup against the Charlotte Hornets was the worst thing in franchise history.

Then that very same lineup that people mocked because LOLWARRIORSUCKNOW turned around and beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. And suddenly — because heaven forbid anyone have an attention span of longer than 24 hours — people have had no choice but to heap praise on the Warriors.

The rest of the year is likely to be something like the series of events: militantly context-averse takes (e.g. “(The Warriors) are like your favorite little blankie when you were a kid. You just feel good when you go there.”) followed by large scale crow feeds. It’ll get exhausting and has ruined NBA Twitter on game nights way more than the Warriors ever ruined the NBA.

But occasionally, the unpredictability of the Warriors’ season will result in wiser takes like the one Haley O’Shaughnessey of The Ringer put together yesterday.

When was the last time Golden State was enchanting? There’s the 2007 playoff run blazened by Nellie Ball and those blinding orange jerseys. They Believed; I was charmed...There’s no guarantee that Golden State will be a powerhouse again, either, once it’s back to full health. But for now, its name doesn’t have the same overtone it used to. There is no automatic expectation that the team will win each game. It’s easier to cheer for an underdog than the favorite, and it’s more fun to watch when you’re unsure which is which.

Monday night’s unexpected win put NBA fans on notice that their hatred will ultimately be wasted on this team of underdogs just trying to prove they deserve a shot beyond this injury-riddled season; there will be plenty more games like this and plenty more games that they get absolutely pummeled, but the fact that we don’t know day-to-day will make this season worth watching.

Pulling off a win against a Houston Rockets team that always thought they had a shot against the Warriors at full strength to begin with will offer Bay Area fans a bit of a cherry on top.


GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors (2-5) at Houston Rockets (4-3)

WHEN: Wednesday, November 6, 2019; 4:30 p.m. PDT

WATCH: ESPN

Blog Buddy: The Dream Shake


Warriors vs. Rockets: Defense optional

If you’re looking for reasons to support the idea of back-to-back wins, look no further than the defensive end of the court.

The three worst teams in the NBA defensively are, in reverse order, the Warriors (30th), the New Orleans Pelicans (who the Warriors got their first win of the season against) and the Rockets. Portland isn’t too far from that. Poor defense is probably the Warriors’ best shot of getting a win, particularly if Eric Paschall can perform anywhere near how he did on Monday night.

Defensive stats mean less than they normally do when the sample size is this small, but a major problem for the Rockets has been defending the perimeter — they’ve allowed 40% shooting from beyond the arc in their seven games thus far this year. Perhaps that is to be expected when you start the likes of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, two guards who’ve never seen a shot they don’t like but don’t have quite as much enthusiasm for defense.

If the Warriors can get hot from three again and turn this into a shootout — and Harden keeps up his pace of jacking up bricks while trying to draw cheap fouls — maybe they’ll put themselves within striking distance ...? Possibly?

Stay healthy, have fun

The Warriors are already hobbled so the number one goal for any game this season has to be staying healthy — easier said than done, as this season has shown us.

As described by Jake Montero of KNBR, Warriors coach Steve Kerr provided an update on his team yesterday, saying that guard D’Angelo Russell could be back for today’s game while Kevon Looney will remain out as he will not make the trip to Houston. Despite the team showing a bit of life without any proven veterans, having Russell back even for depth would probably be a welcome sight at this point.

But this isn’t about wins and losses this season — I really hope to just see the team continuing to take steps forward developmentally independent of the outcome.

Prediction

Whatever you make of the Rockets’ defense, their offense is still among the best in the league as long as Harden is capable of making up for his ice cold shooting by duping refs into free throw attempts. The Rockets will probably win this one, but maybe their worst tendencies will get the best of them and we’ll get another feel-good win to enjoy.