Golden State Warriors @ Houston Rockets on 3/13/19

The Golden State Warriors (45-21) are in town for the fourth and final contest against the Houston Rockets (42-25) this season.

Houston, riding a 9-game win streak, boasts a 3-0 record over Golden State so far, including wins that came without key contributors (Paul and Gordon for one, Harden for another).

It’s almost as if Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey, the architect behind Houston’s roster, has done nothing but be obsessed about matching up with Golden State for years now.

And with a roster that looks nothing significantly better than it did back in mid-October, it’s not a stretch to claim that this year’s Rockets team is even deeper than last season.

Having just broken the news that the team will be converting Danuel House Jr.’s two-way contract, Houston now has a legitimate 10-deep rotation of guys that are not just playable, but matchup perfectly, with Golden State.

Last year’s team relied on the likes of Ryan Anderson, Nene and an injured Luc Mbah a Moute, who were all essentially unplayable against Golden State in the playoffs.

The additions of Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried, Iman Shumpert and newly converted House Jr. to a roster that, minus Trevor Ariza, already took the Warriors to seven games, is a welcomed sight.

Ahead of tonight’s outing, Stephen Curry called this a “statement game,” but that’s not how Clint Capela views it.

Unfortunately, the Rockets won’t get to test its finally finished roster against a complete Warriors squad as Kevin Durant will reportedly sit out tonight’s prime-time ESPN match-up.

Even without Durant, Golden State is still a top-tier team that requires a full 48 minutes of basketball to beat; something Houston has been dreadful at doing lately. Some things to keep an eye on:

  • James Harden and his recent string of foul-laden games. Harden must keep himself out of foul trouble. Even though the team has proven it can beat Golden State without him, it would be a much easier affair with the MVP on the court rather than the sidelines.
  • Curry. Without Durant in the lineup tonight, the stars may be aligning for a vintage ’14-’15 Curry performance. With plus defenders like Paul, Rivers and Shumpert to throw at him, the Rockets should be okay. But like with all superstars in the league, Harden included, you never know when the two-time MVP is going to drop a signature game.

A 3-0 record against the back-to-back champions bodes well for Houston, and while it remains to be seen if Golden State has a “playoff switch” that it can flip, that switch might just be broken when it comes to the Rockets.

Prediction: Rockets 115 – Warriors 106

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