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Golden State Vs Houston
2015/16 NBA Championship, 10 February, 2016
|Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA|
|Golden State 123 defeated Houston 110|
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The Golden State Warriors (46-4) will host the Houston Rockets (27-26) at Oracle Arena where they hold a franchise record 41-win streak. It is the third and final regular season instalment between last year’s Western Conference finalists. Join The Roar from 2:30pm (AEDT) for live scores and coverage.
The Warriors’ stellar season has so far included two wins over the struggling Rockets. The first was a 20 point drubbing during the Rockets’ unexpected slow start to the season. When they met again on New Years Eve; Houston gave them a much tougher test but ultimately went down 114-110.
While the Warriors are putting together a serious challenge to the Chicago Bulls’ 1995-96 record-setting 72 win season, the Rockets have been the epitome of inconsistency.
The Rockets boast victories over San Antonio and Oklahoma City (second and third in the West respectively), yet have lost to the lowly Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic. Although James Harden has been his usual brilliant self, averaging over 27 points, six rebounds and seven assists per game, the same cannot be said of his teammates. On any given night you can’t be sure which Rockets team will show up and their record so far reflects this.
Looking at this game in particular, when these two teams are in the same building we know the flavour of the night will be three pointers. The Rockets lead the NBA in three-point attempts with 31.3 per game; the Warriors (30.2) are a close second. The biggest difference is that the Warriors make 42.7 percent of their threes, good for first in the league. Houston only shoots 35 percent and this will likely need to improve on the night if they hope to keep up with the hot hands of the Warriors.
Where the Rockets have really struggled this season is on the defensive end of the floor. Even though they trot out three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard and elite wing defender Trevor Ariza in their starting line-up, teams have scored against them almost at will this season. Expect this to continue against the offensive prowess of Golden State.
Reigning MVP Stephen Curry has proven this season that he is a video game player trapped in a human body; when he gets hot, no defence can stop him. Combine this with the outside shooting of Klay Thompson and all-around hustle of Draymond Green and Houston’s defence may struggle once again.
Houston has been able to do some damage on the offensive end this season, thanks in large part to Harden. However, Golden State are so well-drilled defensively that even if the bearded one has a scoring outburst, they should be able to keep his teammates quiet enough to secure a win.
The Warriors enter this game on the back of an eight-point victory over conference rivals OKC, while Houston was embarrassed by a 17 point loss to Portland at home. Golden State’s confidence should be sky high and while a victory seems likely, you never know if Houston’s desperation will finally kick in.
The fact that they simply cannot afford to lose many more games if they hope to reach the playoffs will not be lost on them. In the ultra-competitive Western Conference the Rockets (currently in seventh) can see their playoff berth taken by Utah, Portland, Sacramento or even Denver.
Both teams will want to carry some form into the upcoming All-Star break and the Rockets are certainly in greater need of a win, but it’s hard to see them getting past the Golden State juggernaut, especially at home.
Warriors by 13