Thursday November 15th
Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets
In a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals, this game is very much a wildcard. Golden State are playing their third game in four nights so the team may show some fatigue as well as lacking some continuity. Stephen Curry will be out of the line-up, still nursing an adductor strain sustained in the game vs. Milwaukee. Draymond Green will re-join the team after being suspended for the Atlanta game. All eyes will be on Green and Kevin Durant and to see if their shouting match and Draymond's subsequent suspension was just a 'blip' or a sign of a deeper fissure in team chemistry. Even with Curry injured, GSW can still score in bunches and Klay Thompson and Durant will pick up the slack. The Warriors rank 2nd in points per game at 121.6 PPG and move the ball around better than any team in the league, averaging a league best 29.9 assist per game meanwhile Houston are at the other end of the spectrum averaging 103.2 points per game (ranked 28th) and only averaging 20 assists per game (ranked 29th).
Houston have struggled out of the gate in the first 4 weeks of the season. The addition of Carmelo Anthony has failed to yield results as his time with Houston is looking like it is coming to an unceremonial end as he hasn't dressed for the last three games with a vague, yet questionable-sounding 'illness'. The Rockets offence is still powered by James Harden 27.3ppg and 7.7apg. Clint Capella will provide matchup problems for Damian Jones and Kevon Looney in the post. However Houston's major deficiency will be on the defensive end, as they lost their best perimeter defender this past off-season in Trevor Ariza. PJ Tucker is the team's most versatile defender, but the advanced analytics suggest that Chris Paul is the team's leading defensive player with defensive win ratio of 0.125 (which only ranks 50th in the league)
This game may come down to which team is better able to take care of the basketball. Both teams are comparable in their turnover per game stats (Houston 14.3, ranked 9th and GSW 15.0 ranked 17th), however with Stephen Curry out of the lineup Golden State may struggle to protect the basketball and execute smoothly on offense.
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