The Warriors will be chasing franchise history at Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday, when they face the Rockets in a battle of the NBA’s highest-scoring teams.
Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30, with postgame coverage immediately following the conclusion of the national telecast.
The defending champions have won their last 14 road games, tying the franchise record set in 73-win season of 2015-16. The Warriors (37-9) are two wins away from tying the NBA record of 16 consecutive road wins set by the Lakers in 1971-72.
A victory also would give the Warriors a perfect record (5-0) in their most difficult road trip of the season.
The Rockets (31-12) spent the first two months of the season atop the Western Conference and are expected to provide the greatest threat to the Warriors making a fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals.
Warriors by 3.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: One week after Thompson faced one foe from his childhood foes in Southern California, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, here comes another in Harden. That Harden is playing on a recovering hamstring and will be on a minutes restriction could work in favor of Thompson and the Warriors. Thompson has been playing well; he’s having his best season. He’ll be a load for Harden or any defender, especially with starting wing Trevor Ariza out serving a suspension.
Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L calf contusion) was ruled out after shootaround. F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.
Rockets: F Trevor Ariza (suspension), F/G Gerald Green (suspension), F/C Chinanu Onuaku (sinus surgery) and PF Zhou Qi (R elbow suergery) are listed as out.
Warriors: 9-1. Rockets: 6-4.
Derrick Stafford (crew chief), Derrick Collins, Kevin Scott
The teams split the first two of three games scheduled this season, each winning on the other’s court. The Rockets came back for a 122-121 victory on Oct. 17 at Oracle Arena and the Warriors taking a 124-114 decision on Jan. 4 at Toyota Center. The Warriors won three of four meetings last season and 12 of the last 14 overall in the regular season. They have won eight of the last nine in Houston.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
EYES ON THE ARC: Whereas the Warriors routinely deploy the 3-point shot, the Rockets live by it, firing league-leading 43.5 triples per game. The Warriors are better at it, though, shooting a league-leading 38.9 percent to Houston’s 36.3. The teams have combined to shoot 151 3-pointers in their two meetings this season. The Warriors are 10th in the league at defending the 3, while the Rockets at 22nd.
THE BENCHES: The Rockets have the No. 2 (by net rating) bench in the league, behind reigning Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon, who leads the league in 3-point attempts (9.7 per game), and rugged forward PJ Tucker, a defensive specialist. The Warriors counter with the No. 1 bench, anchored by Andre Iguodala and David West. The benches rank 1-2 in effective field-goal percentage, with the Warriors on top.
THE LOONEY FACTOR: The absence of exciting rookie power forward Jordan Bell means possible minutes for JaVale McGee and certainly an additional load for Kevon Looney. He has played well enough that even if he doesn’t start, he’s likely to play more minutes than usual starter Zaza Pachulia -- as was the case when the teams met on Jan. 4.