Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors; Jeremy Lin Takes On Stephen Curry In Battle For Playoff Position; TV Schedule, Game Preview, Live Stream and Score
The playoff race is starting to heat up for the Houston Rockets (33-29) as they get ready to play a playoff rival in the Golden State Warriors (35-27) Friday night in Oakland, Calif.
The Warriors, on a two-game winning streak, have been on a roll at home, winning five straight games at the ORACLE Arena. However, they have not been able to beat the Rockets this season, having lost both of their games against them in February.
Meanwhile, the Rockets, who have pulled even at 5-5 over the last 10 games, are coming off a tough 112-108 loss to Dallas on Wednesday that snapped a two-game winning streak Houston was nursing. However, some of the Rockets' best games have come against the Warriors, particularly a 140-109 win the Rockets had against Golden State on Feb. 5. In that game, the Rockets tied the NBA record for most three-pointers in a game, 23.
Both teams are playing for a lot, with the Warriors holding a tenuous two-game lead for the sixth seed in the West ahead of the Rockets, who are the No.7 seed in the NBA playoff picture.
And the game will feature a competitive backcourt battle as Houston All-Star James Harden and Jeremy Lin, the Palo Alto, Calif., native returning to his home state, will take on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Latinos Post breaks down the key matchups for tonight's game:
Power forward: David Lee, Warriors vs. Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets
Lee, an All-Star for Golden State, has been averaging 17.3 points in the last five games, but hasn't been particularly effective against Houston, having been limited to a mere 15.0 points against the Rockets in their last two games. Motiejunas, who was promoted to the starting four spot after the Patrick Patterson trade, has been doing his part to anchor the offense with 11.7 points over the last five games. However, he'll have his hands full against the physical and aggressive Lee, who will be looking to get a big game tonight.
Small forward: Harrison Barnes, Warriors vs. Chandler Parsons, Rockets
Parsons is red-hot, having scored 24.0 points for Houston on 62.7 percent shooting in the last five games. Add to that his 18.0 points in two games against Golden State this season and tonight should be a big night for Parsons. Barnes is scoring 11.8 points in the month of March, but got few touches against Houston with only 7.0 points against them.
Center: Festus Ezeli, Warriors vs. Omer Asik, Rockets
Asik is still cleaning boards at a torrid pace for the Rockets, grabbing 13.8 rebounds in the last five games. Against Golden State, he's been even better, averaging 15.0 rebounds and 12.0 points against the Warriors. The 6'11, 255-pound Ezeli wasn't particularly impressive against the Rockets in his only game against them, scoring four points with three rebounds, but he is a defensive specialist who thrives in his role. Ezeli will have to find a way to shut down the lane to keep Harden and Lin from penetrating.
Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson, Warriors vs. James Harden, Rockets
Thompson has been on fire in the month of March, scoring 21.5 points in four games on 49.2 percent shooting. He'll need to keep that rhythm if he wants to be more productive that the 14.0 points he's been held to against Houston. Harden, meanwhile, has been on a tear in his last nine games, the No.5-ranked scorer in the NBA averaging 27.8 points per game and having scored 22.5 points against the Warriors this season. As Harden goes, so goes the Rockets' offense, so look for Harden, coming off a 28-point night against Dallas on Wednesday, to be at his best as Houston looks to get some playoff leverage.
Point Guard: Stephen Curry, Warriors vs. Jeremy Lin, Rockets
Lin continues his statistically up-and-down season with the Rockets, averaging 11.8 points in his last five games which has seen him score 21 points against Dallas on March 3, then only 12 points against them on March 6. However, Golden State has brought out the best in Lin, who has scored 21.0 points this season against his ex-team the Warriors. Curry, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-for-11, 13-point night against Sacramento on Wednesday, but is averaging 29.6 points over the last five games-including a 54-point explosion against the Knicks Feb. 27. But for the Warriors to win, Curry will have to do better than the 17.0 points he's scored against Houston on 41.9 percent shooting this season. Both guards have a quick step and can be aggressive when they get hot, so expect this match-up to be a fun one.
Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry are still the key players off the bench for Golden State, both of them capable of producing double figures in scoring.
For the Rockets, Carlos Delfino is still their most reliable asset, while Thomas Robinson will have to try and step it up in order to provide the kind of backup the Rockets need from their reserves. Toney Douglas and Patrick Beverly also round out the Rockets' guard rotations.
Game time, TV Schedule, Live Score
Game time starts at 10:30 p.m. Friday, EST on ESPN. Live score is available via TV Companion, here.
Live Streaming for the Game is can be seen via WatchESPN.