Steve Kerr and the Warriors will be chasing milestones Tuesday night in Houston.
A victory over the Rockets would make Kerr the fastest coach to reach 200 wins -- he enters the game at Toyota Center with a record of 199-38 -- and also would make the Warriors the sixth NBA team to post three consecutive seasons with at least 60 wins.
The Warriors (59-14) will be underdogs despite winning seven in a row in the quest to maintain their grip on the No. 1 overall seed for the postseason.
The Rockets (51-22), who have won their last four games, averaging 122 points, are practically locked into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
Rockets by 1
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Harden is, by most projections, the leading candidate for MVP. He’s scoring (29.4 points per game), playmaking (11.3 assists), rebounding (8.0) and even occasionally playing defense. He’s also shooting higher than 50 percent over his past 12 games. He’s incredibly difficult to contain, but Thompson has accepted the challenge since the two were prep competitors in Southern California. The good news for the Warriors is that Harden will take plays off on defense. Though Thompson is capable of cooking anyone the Rockets throw at him, the Warriors are in trouble if Harden dictates the action.
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee 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: 7-3. Rockets: 7-3.
Though the teams split two meetings earlier this season, the Warriors have won nine of the last 10 overall, dating back to 2013. The teams have met in each of the past two postseasons, with the Warriors taking a first-round series in five games in 2016 and winning the Western Conference Finals in five in 2015.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
SCOREBOARD ON FIRE: The Warriors (115.9 points per game) and Rockets (115.8) rank 1-2 in scoring. Houston launches a league-high 40.3 3-pointers per game, while the Warriors are fifth, at 31.1 per game. The Warriors (56.2) and Rockets (55.0) also are 1-2 in adjusted field-goal percentage. It must be noted, though, that the Warriors are the superior defensive team.
STEPH AND THE PEST: Patrick Beverley fancies himself a great defender, delights in harassing opponents and takes particular glee in irritating Curry. The two have long been familiar with each other; both were members of the 2009 draft. Curry relishes every opportunity to torch Beverley, so there may be early fireworks.
THE BENCHES: Even with rotation changes necessitated by the injury to Anderson, Houston has one of the league’s deadliest benches, averaging 39.3 points per game (fifth in the NBA). The Warriors also have made adjustments in the wake of losing Durant. They average 31.7 points (23rd). The Warriors must find a way to neutralize Rockets Sixth Man Lou Williams.