Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors: Predictions, Odds, and How to Watch

How to Watch

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

When: 10:30 PM EST, 3 January 2019

How (TV/Radio): TNT | 790 AM, 95.7 FM The Game

Houston Rockets

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 596-485 | DEN, PHO, NYK, LAL, HOU}

After a difficult start to the season, the Houston Rockets have been able to find their groove and currently rank fourth in the Western Conference. While they are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth, it is amazing that they are ranked so highly as they have been without all-star Chris Paul for more than a week now.

The Houston Rockets have lost only once in their last eleven matches. That loss was a two-point affair against the Miami Heat. They have been matched up with some of the most talented teams in the Eastern and Western Conference, lending quite the nod of approval for most critics believing them to be on an easy run.

The Rockets will face their truest test of the season as they take on their rivals, the Golden State Warriors. Former teammate and friend Kevin Durant leads the line against Harden, who is likely to be missing his two most valuable teammates in Chris Paul and Eric Gordon.

Golden State Warriors

Head Coach: Steve Kerr {All-Time 290-76 | GSW}

The Golden State Warriors are once again, the team to beat in the NBA this year. While the likes of the Bucks, Raptors, and Nuggets all maintain better records, the combination of the Warriors talent and experience makes you believe they could enter the playoffs in the eighth seed and still be favoured for the championship.

Currently second in the Western Conference and 6-4 in their last ten, the Golden State Warriors are in a comfortable position at the beginning of the new year. While they’ve dropped recent games against the Lakers, Jazz, and Trail Blazers, at 15-5 at home the Warriors are a fearsome team regardless of trends.

The Rockets may be without key players which the Warriors will maintain no mercy for. If anything, complacency is the Warriors greatest enemy and a strong effort from the Rockets role players may make the game closer than it should be. Expect a focused effort from the Warriors to prove nothing has changed since last years playoffs.

What’s At Stake?

An intra-conference matchup, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets have met a number of times over the years. Whether it was Olajuwon versus Run TMC or Durant versus Harden, the two teams have always provided an entertaining showcase. The Rockets lead the all-time series 110-77.

With a win, the Houston Rockets would break the deadlock between them and the Los Angeles Clippers, claiming fourth place in the Western Conference all for themselves.

The Warriors surely want a win, though it won’t bring them back to first place. A win, combined with a loss for the Denver Nuggets would move the reigning champions back into first place in the West.

Questions to answer

Who can be the secondary for Houston?

What can stop these Warriors?

We are going to compare the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Austin Rivers has been consistent if not spectacular

In four games with the Houston Rockets, Austin Rivers has logged ten points three times and twelve points in his fourth match. He has been a steadying presence for the Houston Rockets off the bench and while he hasn’t provided an incredible spark, his consistency is valued on the Rockets’ unpredictable second unit.

Rivers has had the opportunity to play off the ball and as the primary playmaker for the Houston Rockets. Leading the bench unit that does not have Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers’ veteran presence seems to have inspired performances from the Rockets bench unit.

Against the Grizzlies, Rivers was inserted into the starting lineup due to injuries. D’Antoni made it a point to stager the minutes of Harden and Rivers in order for there to always be a playmaker on the court for their capable big men Clint Capela and Nene.

The Warriors are Champions for a reason

The Warriors are an absolutely incredible squad. Ranked first in assists, fourth in rebounds, first in field-goal percentage, and fourth in three-point percentage, there is really nothing that the Warriors cannot do.

If there is a dark spot on the Warriors statistical performance this season it is that they are in the bottom third of the NBA in turnovers. For a team so adept moving the ball, they sometimes struggle to take care of it. With so much talent, every player needs to be provided an opportunity and it sometimes leads to over passing.

The Rockets have incredibly energetic defenders regardless of their experience or offensive talent. Players like PJ Tucker and Nene will always put on an inspired defensive shift, but contributions from the likes of Danuel House and James Ennis are what they will need to pressure the Warriors into mistakes.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

F James Ennis (hamstring) was ruled out on Monday and will be questionable to play against the Warriors.

G Eric Gordon (knee) was ruled out on Monday and will be questionable to play against the Warriors.

G Chris Paul (hamstring) continues to recover from a strained hamstring and will be re-evaluated after two weeks.

Golden State Warriors Roster Notes

C Demarcus Cousins (achilles) begun practicing with the Warriors on Dec 28, there is no news as to when he will return.

C Damian Jones (pectoral) is out for the season with a torn pectoral.

Head-to-Head: James Harden vs Kevin Durant

James Harden

33.3 PPG | 8.4 APG | 5.8 RPG | 2.1 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 5.5 TOV | .442 FG% | .387 3P%

Kevin Durant

28.5 PPG | 6.2 APG | 7.5 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 1.0 BPG | 3.4 TOV | .506 FG% | .369 3P%

Are there two greater scorers in the NBA today than Kevin Durant and James Harden? The Houston Rockets are struggling but Harden has been able to keep the Rockets afloat. The Warriors are prospering as always, but the impending free agency of Durant looms over his incredible season. These two MVP’s and game-changers face-off in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals.

With Chris Paul out, Harden has taken on what seems to be an insurmountable workload to keep the Rockets afloat in the Western Conference. His scoring has been stellar, averaging a career high in points per game while scoring 30+ points in thirteen straight games this season. He is however averaging an alarming 5.5 turnovers per game, which has bumped him to fifth in all-time turnovers per game.

Kevin Durant has the luxury of having an incredible amount of weapons surrounding him. Green off the screen, Klay spotting up, and Steph able to create for himself, there’s no reason for Durant to put together such numbers in a season. Of course he’s preparing for his free agency, but with his current play it’ll be hard for NBA teams to not offer Durant the most lucrative contract in NBA history.

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Golden State Warriors favoured over the Houston Rockets by 8, with an over/under of 110.