NBA Gameday: Can Curry torch Beverley, Rockets twice in four days?

NBA Gameday: Can Curry torch Beverley, Rockets twice in four days?

OAKLAND -- The Warriors will put their nine-game win streak on the line Friday night at Oracle Arena, where they will play host to the Houston Rockets.

The teams met earlier this week in Houston, with the Warriors coming away with a 113-106 victory.

The magic number for the Warriors (61-14) to gain homecourt advantage throughout the postseason is five. They close out the regular season with six of their final seven games at home.

The Rockets (51-24) had won seven of eight before losing to the Warriors and to the Trail Blazers this week.


Warriors by 9.5


Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Though hampered by an achy wrist, Harden is the engine that gives the Rockets their lift. He was kept under wraps (24 points, 5-of-20 shooting, 1-of-8 from beyond the arc) three days ago by Thompson and his teammates. Similar success would go a long way toward a Warriors victory. Thompson, on the other hand, generally scores well against Houston.


Warriors: F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as doubtful. F Kevin Durant (L MCL sprain, bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Rockets: F Ryan Anderson (R ankle sprain) is listed as out.


Warriors: 9-1. Rockets: 7-3.


The teams have met three times this season, with the Warriors winning the last two. They have won 11 of the last 14 overall.


THE BENCHES: Aside from Harden, the Rockets may not have a more dangerous scorer than Lou Williams, the leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. With Eric Gordon inserted into the starting lineup in the absence of Anderson, Williams brings the ability to score in bunches. The Warriors don’t necessarily have to outscore Houston’s bench, but they want to avoid getting lit up by Williams.

STEPH AND HIS NEMESIS: Curry has been playing well of late, torching the Rockets for 32 points three nights ago in Houston. Patrick Beverley, who considers himself a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, will look to make amends. He considers defending Curry as both confrontation and a means of measurement for his defense.

THE THREES: The Rockets shoot an average of 40 3-pointers per game. It’s the basis of their offense and has helped them to an average of 115.5 points per game, second in the NBA. The Warriors will want to defend the arc while also reminding everyone they shoot 31.1 triples per game, lead the league in scoring.

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”