James Harden

Warriors vs. Rockets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

Warriors vs. Rockets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Refreshed in the wake of the All-Star break, the Warriors on Thursday go back to work against familiar enemies with an unfamiliar look.

Gone are most of the Rockets who faced the Warriors in four of the past five postseasons and were eliminated each time. Though James Harden remains, the reshuffled starting lineup is without a center -- or anyone taller than 6-foot-8 forward Robert Covington.

Which should make for intrigue when the teams meet at Chase Center. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff of the TNT telecast scheduled for 7:35.

The Warriors (12-43) have lost four straight and 10 of their last 11. They did, however, pull off their most surprising win of the season, 116-104, against Houston on Christmas Day at Chase.

After a January stretch during which they lost seven of 11 games, the Rockets (34-20) shook up their roster in an effort to solidify their playoff positioning, trading starting center Clint Capela and leaving 37-year-old Tyson Chandler as the only active center on the roster.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Rockets

F – Robert Covington
F – Danuel House
C – P.J. Tucker
G – Russell Westbrook
G – James Harden

Warriors

F – Andrew Wiggins
F – Draymond Green
C – Marquese Chriss
G – Damian Lee
G – Jordan Poole

INJURY REPORT

Rockets: G Eric Gordon (left lower leg contusion) is listed as questionable.

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) and G Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation) are listed as out.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Rockets: Capela’s absence effectively moves Tucker to C, where his sturdy 6-5, 240-pound frame relies on physicality to compete in the paint. Results thus far have been mixed, as Houston had won three in a row before the trade deadline but has since gone 2-2.

The other new face, along with Covington, is itinerant F Jeff Green, who signed a 10-day contract on Tuesday. He has played for nine different franchises.

Harden’s 35.3 ppg leads the NBA, with Westbrook’s 27.2 ppg ranking seventh in the NBA and second on the Rockets.

Key players off the bench have been G Eric Gordon, the Sixth Man, along with G Austin Rivers and G Ben McLemore, who is showing signs of stabilizing his career.

Beginning with the Christmas Day loss, Houston has lost seven of its last 11 road games.

In contrast to their lack of postseason success against the Warriors, the Rockets have won six of the last nine regular-season meetings, including a 129-112 rout last Nov. 6 in Houston.

Warriors: With the 10-day contracts of PG Jeremy Pargo and SG Zach Norvell expiring, the Warriors are down to 10 available players. They are expected to sign 7-1 C Dragan Bender to a 10-day contract and add him to the roster by Sunday.

[RELATED: Bender compared himself to Draymond during draft interview]

Meanwhile, the bench consists of PG Ky Bowman, C/F Kevon Looney, PF Eric Paschall, C/F Alen Smailagic and SF Juan Toscano-Anderson. Only Paschall has been healthy and in the rotation all season.

In three games since joining the Warriors, Wiggins is averaging 23.0 ppg on 57.5-percent shooting, including 56.7 pct. from distance.

After spending the first half of the season at SG, Poole has been shifted to PG and will make his second start there. He had 12 points, three assists and three rebounds over 32 minutes in the last game before the break, Feb. 12 at Phoenix.

Chriss is averaging 14.0 ppg on 63.4-percent shooting over his last 11 games, nine of which were starts.

Poole’s streak of consecutive free throws is at 19.

Officials: John Goble (crew chief), Nick Buchert, JB DeRosa.

Rockets' James Harden picks 49ers to beat Chiefs in 2020 Super Bowl

Rockets' James Harden picks 49ers to beat Chiefs in 2020 Super Bowl

The NBA team from the Bay Area has haunted James Harden ever since he got to Houston, but he doesn't care on this day.

After Harden's Rockets beat the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, Harden was asked who he's picking in Super Bowl LIV.

"Niners," Harden told ESPN's Jorge Sedano.

Harden didn't provide a reason why he was picking the five-time Super Bowl champs to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami.

Harden likely is one of the very few people in Houston rooting for the 49ers. After all, the Warriors knocked Harden's Rockets out of the NBA playoffs in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

[RELATED: Super Bowl LIV predictions, odds]

Maybe Harden knows it's a bad idea to bet against a team from the Bay Area.

Kevin Durant doesn't include Warriors on top five hardest-to-guard list

Kevin Durant doesn't include Warriors on top five hardest-to-guard list

This surely will go over well with Warriors fans.

Kevin Durant recently conducted a Twitter Q&A through The Boardroom (@boardroom) official account.

When asked to name the five hardest players to guard, the two-time NBA Finals MVP went with LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams, Paul George and Joel Embiid.

He then circled back to add one more to the list:

No Steph Curry, no Klay Thompson.

If these omissions bother you, follow this guy's lead:

[RELATED: D-Lo had NSFW reaction learning about Warriors max contract]

Correct. And even when KD played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, he didn't match up against Curry or Klay that often.

But then again:

Now carry on with your day.

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