Warriors

Gameday: Curry vs Westbrook most likely to dictate the outcome

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Gameday: Curry vs Westbrook most likely to dictate the outcome

OAKLAND -- Though the Warriors this season have done well to overcome an assortment of injuries, the Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves trying to recover from one major injury when they come to Oracle Arena on Tuesday night.

The Warriors (41-12) are fairly healthy but have lost two of three games for the first time this season. This is the first of a four-game homestand during which they hope to find some level of proficiency, particularly on defense. After holding 12 of their first 34 opponents below 100 points, they’ve done so only once in the last 19 games.

The Thunder (30-23) were rolling, winners of seven in a row when guard Andre Roberson ruptured his patellar tendon on Jan. 27. OKC has since lost four of five.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 10

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Russell Westbrook: Though Westbrook likely will see more of Klay Thompson than Curry, the point guard battle featuring two MVPs is the one most likely to dictate the outcome. Westbrook totaled 34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in the last meeting. He was plus-17. Curry had 24 points but committed six turnovers. He was minus-17. If that happens again, it will take awful lot for the Warriors to overcome it.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) is listed as out.

Thunder: G/F Andre Roberson (L patellar tendon rupture) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 7-3. Thunder: 6-4.

GAME OFFICIALS

Ken Mauer (crew chief), Lauren Holtkamp, Marat Kogut

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors lost the first of four meetings scheduled for this season, 108-91, on Nov. 22 in Oklahoma City. The Warriors swept all four meetings last season and have won 10 of 12 in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE KD-PG CLASH: Durant is a top-5 player, George a top-15 player. George had the better game in November, with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and one turnover, while Durant had 21 points, five rebounds, two assists and four turnovers. Expect Durant to raise his intensity level a notch. He’ll need it, for George -- in the absence of San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard -- may be the best two-way small forward in the NBA.

THE FIRST 12: The Warriors have taken a lead into the second quarter in only seven of their last 20 games. After a taking a lead in the opening minutes in OKC, they were down 33-26 after one and trailed over the final 41 minutes. If the Warriors dig themselves another hole, it will be difficult to climb out, even at home, against the Thunder.

THE BENCHES: OKC’s bench is not an asset. Coach Billy Donovan looks at his bench and sees one-dimensional players such as Alex Abrines (can’t defend), Josh Huestis (not making shots). The loss of Roberson further thinned the reserves. The Warriors’ bench, though slumping at both ends, is in position to exploit this.

The referee stat that bodes well for the Warriors in Game 5 at Rockets

The referee stat that bodes well for the Warriors in Game 5 at Rockets

Did you know that the Warriors are playing a pivotal Game 5 tonight in Houston? 

Yeah. It's true.

The officials for tonight's game are James Capers, Eric Lewis and Zach Zarba.

Why does that matter (it may not matter at all)? Well, because of this:

The Warriors have not lost a playoff game with Capers as an official since Game 3 of the 2015 West Semifinals at the Grizzlies.

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast: Fair to second-guess the roster? More Jordan Bell in Game 5?]

Here are the 12 straight wins:

-Game 2, 2015 West Finals vs Rockets 
-Game 1, 2015 NBA Finals vs Cavs 
-Game 5, 2015 NBA Finals vs Cavs 
-Game 2, 2016 1st round vs Rockets 
-Game 1, 2016 West Semis vs Blazers
-Game 5, 2016 West Finals vs Thunder
-Game 2, 2016 NBA Finals vs Cavs
-Game 4, 2017 West Semis at Jazz
-Game 3, 2017 West Finals at Spurs
-Game 2, 2017 NBA Finals vs Cavs
-Game 1, 2018 1st round vs Spurs
-Game 4, 2018 West Semis at Pelicans

That's 9-0 at home and 3-0 on the road.

So if that's the good news for the Warriors, here's the bad news:

Enjoy the game, everybody...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

All eyes on the point guards in Warriors' biggest game yet

All eyes on the point guards in Warriors' biggest game yet

HOUSTON -- Stung by a bitter home loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors will try to rebound in Game 5 against the Rockets on Thursday night at Toyota Center.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m. Postgame coverage will follow immediately after the final horn.

After gaining homecourt advantage with a victory in Game 1, the Warriors gave it back by blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 on Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Though Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are listed as questionable, Thompson almost certainly will play and Iguodala is expected to be a game-time decision.

BETTING LINE

Even

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul: With the exception of Game 3, when he was bothered by foot soreness, Paul has been a factor in every game. It’s apparent that he is comfortable leading the Rockets in the clutch. The same could be said of Curry with the Warriors, though he got out of sorts late in Game 4. Paul was slightly better in Game 4, and it was enough to make the difference. If Curry can reverses that, if gives the Warriors a crucial advantage.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg contusion) and G Klay Thompson (L knee strain) are listed as questionable. G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contustion) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries listed.

GAME OFFCIALS

James Capers (crew chief), Eric Lewis, Zach Zarba, Bill Spooner (alternate)

THE TALLY

Game 1: Warriors 119, Rockets 106 at Houston Game 2: Rockets 127, Warriors 105 at Houston Game 3: Warriors 126, Rockets 85 at Oakland Game 4: Rockets 95, Warriors 92 at Oakland

ROAD TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS

Warriors: Defeated San Antonio in five games in the first round, defeated New Orleans in five games in the conference semifinals.

Rockets: Defeated Minnesota in five games in the first round, defeated Utah in five games in the conference semifinals.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams met three times in the regular season, with Houston posting a 122-121 win on Oct. 17 at Oakland, the Warriors taking a 124-114 victory on Jan. 4 at Houston and the Rockets prevailing, 116-108, on Jan. 20 in Houston. The Warriors have won 12 of the last 15 meetings in the regular season.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE LINEUP: Though Thompson is expected to play. Iguodala will be a game-time decision. If he cannot play, the Warriors likely will repeat the lineup from Game 4, with Kevon Looney starting at center. If Jordan Bell, who had some good moments in Game 4, doesn’t start he’s likely get more significant playing time.

THE OFFENSE: The Warriors went away from their usual schemes in Game 4, relying on isolation more than ball movement. Though it was at times successful, they believe it was costly in the end, citing their 12-point fourth quarter. Regaining their identity has been a point of emphasis since Tuesday.

THE PHYSICALITY: The Rockets are the brawnier team, more willing to mix it up. The Warriors have to respond with sharper movements and more grit. They’re on the edge of desperation and realize everything has to be done with more velocity. Don’t be surprised to see them flexing more muscle or diving on the floor.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Warriors 126, Rockets 85
Game 4 Rockets 95, Warriors 92
Game 5 Houston -- Thursday, May 24th at 6pm
Game 6 Oakland -- Saturday, May 26th at 6pm
Game 7 Houston -- Monday, May 28th at 6pm