Golden State (36-6) at Houston (33-12)
When: Friday, January 20th 2017
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: ESPN
The Houston Rockets will try and hand the Golden State Warriors another loss when the teams meet for the second time this season on Friday night in Houston. The Rockets got a 132-127 double-overtime victory over Golden State on December 1st as star James Harden had one of his typical monster nights with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. The Rockets chuck up an average of 40 3-point attempts per game and connect at a rate of 37 percent. Houston missed its first 10 attempts from beyond the arc on Wednesday but knocked down 14 of the next 30 and pulled away from the Milwaukee Bucks in a 111-92 win in which Harden collected 38 points, eight assists and six rebounds. The defense really stepped up against the Bucks, limiting them to just 39.8% shooting from the floor. Power forward Ryan Anderson (illness) sat out the last two games and is day-to-day. Golden State knocked off the Rockets in five games in the first round of the playoffs last spring, including a 121-94 thumping in Game 4 at Houston.
The Warriors are coming off a four-game homestand sweep that including wins over Cleveland and Oklahoma City. Golden State faced triple-double threat Russell Westbrook on Wednesday and let him fill up the stat sheet but also forced him into 10 turnovers and locked down on the defensive end in the second half of a 121-100 victory. The Warriors held the Thunder to 8-of-28 from 3-point land and lead the NBA in 3-point field-goal defense, limiting opponents to 32.1%. Golden State star Kevin Durant dominated his former team on Wednesday and went 13-of-16 from the field en route to a season-high 40 points. Durant managed 39 points in the first meeting against Houston this season and he is shooting 61.4% from the field and 55.2% from 3-point range over the last five games. Shooting guard Klay Thompson is 12-of-21 from 3-point range in the last three games. Golden State will put its NBA-best record to the test over the next four weeks as they play 10 of the next 13 on the road, including trips to Houston, the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis, and Durant’s return to Oklahoma City on February 11th.
This will definitely be a shootout as the total has been set at 236.5. Golden State is tough to defend right now and they’ll focus their defense on Harden and come away with a victory and cover.
Pick: Warriors -4.5