Game Preview: Houston rockets vs Golden State Warriors

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Coming off of an impressive victory over the Thunder, the Rockets play the Golden State Warriors in their fourth straight home game. The Rockets are now riding a five game win streak and have won 8 of their last ten games, going 11-4 since the All Star break. James Harden remains the team leader in points, assists and rebounds, averaging 29.4, 11.3 and 8.0, respectively. The Rockets currently rank 2nd in offensive rating, 18th in defensive rating, and 3rd in overall net rating.

After stumbling to a 2-5 record following an injury to Kevin Durant, the Warriors appear to have found their footing by winning the next seven in a row. The Warriors are about where we expected them to be, with the leagues best record  (59-14) and sitting at two and a half games above the second team in the West. Kevin Durant leads the Warriors in points and rebounds, at 25.3 and 7.6 per game, while Draymond Green leads in assists, at 7.1 per game. The Warriors currently rank 1st in offensive rating, 2nd in defensive rating, and 1st, by far, in net rating.

Starting Lineups

Ryan Anderson will continue to sit out with a sprained ankle, with his expected return in two weeks. The Rockets will likely start James Harden at point guard, Patrick Beverley at shooting guard, Eric Gordon at small forward, Trevor Ariza at power forward, and Clint Capela at center to start the game, with Lou Williams playing the role of sixth man.

The Warriors will be missing their big free agency signing, Kevin Durant, with a sprained MCL and bone bruise. The Warriors will start Stephen Curry at point guard, Klay Thompson at shooting guard, Patrick McCaw at small forward, Draymond Green at power forward, and Zaza Pachulia at center.

Three Things to Watch

  • Heavyweight Match Up – Tuesday's game features two of the top three teams in the league this season, record wise, as both teams enter the final final stretch of the season. Both teams will be looking to make a statement in this nationally televised game. Watch to see if the Rockets step their game up, and become one of just three teams to beat the Warriors twice, cementing their place among the NBA's best.

  • Extra Possessions – The one obvious weakness the Warriors have is defensive rebounding, ranking just 26th in the league at defensive rebounding rate - and 28th since the Durant injury. In their early victory over the Warriors, the Rockets were able to pull down 15 offensive rebounds, which ended up being a major factor in their ability to keep up with Golden State's scoring. Watch to see if the Rockets are able to take advantage of the Warriors rebounding woes, despite missing one of their better offensive rebounders in Ryan Anderson.

  • Lou's Inconsistency – Since acquiring Lou Williams at the deadline, his performance has been a roller coaster. After lighting up the Thunder for 31 points, Lou has four games with over 25 points and six games scoring below 10 while with the Rockets. Watch to see if Lou Williams is getting more comfortable with his new team, allowing him to be a more consistent threat off of the bench for the Rockets

Prediction and Tip-Off

The Rockets are going to play hard and I'm sure they really want this game, but the Warriors are just the better team. I think the Rockets drop a close one at home to the best team in the league on Tuesday.

Tip-off will be at 7:00 P.M. Central Time in Houston on Tuesday, March 28th. The game will be televised on NBATV and ROOTSPORTS with the radio broadcast on Sports Talk 790-AM.

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