Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors NBA Preview
The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are two teams heading in very different directions this year.
Whereas the Rockets are still in the thick of a title chase, the Warriors have essentially given up on 2020-21 and have their eye on the looming NBA Draft.
With 55 games in the books, Golden State owns a 12-43 record – the worst in the entire league. The only team close to the Warriors in that regard is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are 14-40 through 54 games.
If all goes according to plan, head coach Steve Kerr and Co. will walk away with the top overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. That will allow them to retool for next season, when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will return fully healthy from their injuries.
Houston, meanwhile, is a team that is officially in win-now mode. Realizing that superstar James Harden’s potential needed to be maximized in the present, the Rockets made the bold move of trading away aging point guard Chris Paul this offseason in favor of the enigma that is Russell Westbrook.
Harden and Westbrook have not meshed as well as Harden and Paul did early in their relationship, but the two are still a potent offensive threat every time they take the floor.
The Rockets are currently 34-20 through 54 outings, placing them at No. 5 in the Western Conference.
Given the shifting priorities that Golden State and Houston have, it should come as no surprise that the Rockets are favorites heading into their Thursday night match-up.
According to Sports Betting Dime, Houston is listed at -455 to come out with a victory.
The Rockets are currently the league’s second-highest scoring team, putting up an average of 118 per game. They sit only behind the Milwaukee Bucks in that regard. That number dips from the 119 points that they put up at home to 117 on the road, but that should not matter at the Chase Center on Thursday.
Even at 117 points on the road, Houston’s total trumps Golden State’s average of 106 points per game. That total jumps up to 107 points per game at home, but as noted, that is still significantly less than what the Rockets put up even on their worst days.
This outing will likely come down to offensive weapons – who has them, and who doesn’t.
Houston has Harden and Westbrook. The former is averaging 35.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. The latter is putting up 27.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Conversely, the Warriors traded away D’Angelo Russell, their team’s leader in scoring before the All-Star Break.
That leaves them with the newly acquired Andrew Wiggins to spearhead the offense. Thus far this year, Wiggins is averaging 23 points and 6.2 assists per outing.
Based on the numbers and the sheer amount of firepower at Houston’s disposal, it is hard to see a scenario where the Warriors come out on top this week. That said, in the NBA – anything can happen.