Warriors

NBA Gameday: Can Curry torch Beverley, Rockets twice in four days?

NBA Gameday: Can Curry torch Beverley, Rockets twice in four days?

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.

BETTING LINE

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.

INJURY REPORT

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.

LAST 10

Warriors: 9-1. Rockets: 7-3.

SERIES HISTORY

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.

Kevin Durant keeping his 'options open' with latest one-and-one contract

Kevin Durant keeping his 'options open' with latest one-and-one contract

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant’s decision in July to sign another contract that allows him to leave the Warriors after one more season generated a stir of anxiety within the fan base, and he said nothing Monday to calm anyone’s nerves.

Ultimately, Durant said, the direction he chose was about self-belief and maximum flexibility.

“It was one of those things where you’re just confident in your skills, and you just kind of want to take it year by year,” he said at the team’s Media Day. “To keep my options open, it was the best thing for me.

“I could have easily signed a long-term, but I just wanted to take it season-by-season and see where it takes me.”

Insofar as Durant is expected to opt out next summer, as he has in the previous two summers, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob acknowledged that the team would have to “re-recruit” Durant throughout the season and again during free agency.

General manager Bob Myers, a former agent, reiterated that on Monday.

“For any player -- and having had that history as an agent -- what players want, in my experience, is they want to get paid fairly. They want to win and they want to like going to work, just like all of us. We want to be successful, make fair money and have fun. That’s our job, to create an environment for our players. And I think we do a pretty good job of that.”

Durant will be eligible next July to sign a super max deal worth $220 million with the Warriors, who will have his Bird rights.

“I hope Kevin’s here,” Myers said. “I hope he plays until he’s 50. He’s fantastic, obviously what he’s done for us and what I hope he continues to do goes without saying.”

Durant clearly wants to keep his mind on the upcoming season, the only one he knows for certain will be spent with the Warriors.

“This whole year is going to be a fun, exciting year for us all and I’m looking forward to just focusing on that,” he said. “We’ll see what happens after the year.

“If you take it a day at a time, just stay in the present as much as you can, that’s what I try to do.”

MORE ON THE WARRIORS

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Draymond Green not concerned with moves made by Lakers, Rockets, others

Shaun Livingston symbolizes how Warriors hope to make grind feel fresh

Kevon Looney could go from Warriors' bench to starting center, mentor

Patrick McCaw absence is indefinite, but his reps, Warriors are talking

DeMarcus Cousins vows a 'new DeMarcus' in injury return with Warriors

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USATSI

DeMarcus Cousins vows a 'new DeMarcus' in injury return with Warriors

OAKLAND -- There is no timeline yet for the return of DeMarcus Cousins -- or at least nothing he’s ready to divulge. It’s evident, though, that the center believes he'll have plenty to prove whenever he takes the court as a member of the Warriors.

“You guys will see a new DeMarcus on the floor,” he said at the team’s media day Monday. “I can’t wait to get to that point, just to show all the work that I’ve put in, into this injury. You’ll see it when the product is on the floor.”

Cousins sustained a ruptured left Achilles tendon last Jan. 26 as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, and he underwent surgery the following week. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center has spent the past seven months rehabilitating in hopes of getting back to his All-Star level.

“I’m stubborn as hell,” he said. “I thought I knew that before, but I’m really starting to realize it now. My drive is only increased. I’m seriously like a madman right now.”

Asked what is motivating his comeback, Cousins had a snappy answer: “The haters. That’s all I need. I feed off of it. I love it.”

The Warriors say they feel no need to rush Cousins’ return, but they privately hope he can be back before the All-Star break in February.

“We’ll probably reevaluate him ... in about four weeks with another update on where he’s at,” general manager Bob Myers said.

“I know there’s a narrative that we’ll save DeMarcus for the playoffs. That’s inaccurate. When he can play, he’ll play. We won’t rush him, but we also won’t hold him back. We need time for him to acclimate, and we need time to acclimate to him. But it’s an exciting thing for our whole team to look forward to.”

Meanwhile, Cousins says he will be around his new teammates and available to serve as a mentor to young centers Jordan Bell, Damian Jones and Kevon Looney.

“You want what’s best for your teammates,” Cousins said. “You want them to succeed, so anything I can do to help in any way, I’m going to do that.”

MORE ON THE WARRIORS

Klay Thompson 'perfectly content,' wants to be with Warriors 'my whole career'

Andre Iguodala offers honest opinion on his Hall of Fame candidacy

Draymond Green not concerned with moves made by Lakers, Rockets, others

Shaun Livingston symbolizes how Warriors hope to make grind feel fresh

Kevon Looney could go from Warriors' bench to starting center, mentor

Patrick McCaw absence is indefinite, but his reps, Warriors are talking