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
MATCHUP TO WATCH
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.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
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.