Warriors

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

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

HOUSTON - With the Warriors' last four-game road trip of the season kicking off in Houston Wednesday night, the battered champs are hoping to avoid getting swept by the Rockets in the season series. 

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5:00 p.m. with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame at 5:30 and a 6:30 tipoff from Toyota Center.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Rockets]

Golden State will be without forward Kevin Durant Wednesday, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury. 

Entering Wednesday's matchup, the Rockets have won nine straight games behind James Harden, who is averaging 36.2 points, 7.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds this season. With Durant out and Houston rolling, a Warriors' win Thursday evening will be quite an accomplishment. 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors
F Alfonzo McKinnie
F Draymond Green
C DeMarcus Cousins
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Rockets
F PJ Tucker
C Clint Capela
G Chris Paul
G James Harden
G Eric Gordon

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C Andrew Bogut is not with the team, F Kevin Durant (right ankle sprain) is out; C Damian Jones (left pectoral surgery) is out.

Rockets: F Isaiah Hartenstein (right Achilles soreness) is out

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: With Durant out, Mckinnie or two-way wing Damion Lee could get the start against Houston. 

Curry has been struggling lately, averaging 22.7 points on just 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range. In Sunday's loss to Phoenix, Curry shot just 6-of-20 from the field. 

While Curry is struggling, Thompson is on the verge of hitting 200 3-pointers, which would make him the second player in NBA history to hit 200 3-pointers in seven consecutive seasons. 

Rockets: Entering Wednesday's contest, Harden, the NBA's reigning MVP, is averaging 34.4 points, 6.1 assists and 5.5 rebounds over his last 10 games.

Fellow guard Chris Paul has struggled through injuries this season, averaging career-lows in points (15.3) and field goal percentage (41.1), but scored 23 points, adding 17 assists in the last matchup between these two teams. 

Capela has come on as of late, averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds over his last three games. 

Officials: Ed Malloy, Pat Fraher, Matt Boland

Michael Malone used Clippers' Game 2 win over Warriors to inspire Nuggets

Michael Malone used Clippers' Game 2 win over Warriors to inspire Nuggets

When you're getting your clock cleaned, sometimes you need something to inspire you to keep trying.

On Tuesday night, while his Nuggets were losing big in Game 2 to the Spurs, head coach Michael Malone used the Warriors' Game 2 loss to the Clippers to motivate his team.

"There was a timeout midway through the third quarter, I thought it was a pivotal point in the game," Malone told the media in Denver after the game. "We're down by 16 points and I could see it on some of the guys faces, you know, which way is this game going to go? And I reminded them we have 18 minutes to go. I reminded them what the Clippers did last night and how much basketball was left. It's only going to happen if we believe, we commit and we fight and we attack. And the guys took it to heart and we closed the game out I think on a 57-32 run from that point on."

A night earlier, the Warriors blew a 31-point lead at home against the Clippers, the largest blown lead in NBA playoff history.

As Malone stated, his speech worked. The Nuggets rallied for a 114-105 win to tie the series 1-1.

The Warriors and Nuggets, the top two seeds in the Western Conference, aren't breezing through the first round of the playoffs as expected.

[RELATED: KD, Kerr at odds over star's shooting]

Based on what happened on Monday night, the Warriors may be the ones in need of an inspirational speech.

Is Malone available?

Tim Hardaway, Kevin Durant on same page about Warriors’ game strategy

Tim Hardaway, Kevin Durant on same page about Warriors’ game strategy

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday night at 6, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Kevin Durant took just eight shots in the Warriors' Game 2 loss to the Clippers. He did attempt 12 free throws, however, and ended up scoring 21 points. 

"I'm not gonna go out there and just go shoot 20 or 30 shots," he explained to reporters after practice Wednesday. "I don't play like that. Every time I touch it, I'm not gonna just break the play. ... I'm gonna play basketball. We won Game 1 that way. We were up [31] in Game 2."

Durant's and-one dunk with 7:31 left in the third quarter gave the Warriors a 94-63 lead. With Curry on the bench in foul trouble, Golden State did look to run the offense through the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Things didn't work out as planned on this possession:

But a couple minutes later, Durant was alert and ready to take advantage of a Clippers breakdown:

Shortly thereafter, an aggressive-minded Durant got physical with Patrick Beverley and was whistled for two very questionable offensive fouls. 

During a radio appearance Tuesday, former Golden State point guard Tim Hardaway was asked if the Warriors should have KD try to repeatedly punish the smaller Patrick Beverley on the block.

"As a team, you can't let one player get your team out of sync. You gotta run your offense. You gotta run your offense the way you've been running your offense all year long," the five-time All-Star said. "If you keep posting up Durant -- you're letting the Clippers dictate the game.

"You're telling them we're gonna run a different offense than we normally run. No. Keep running your offense."

Hardaway and Durant are very much on the same page.

"I got a pest, Patrick Beverley, who's up underneath me," KD described. "I could definitely shoot over the top and score every time if it's a 1-on-1 situation. But we got a guy that's dropping and helping, and then we got another guy that's just sitting on me and waiting for me to dribble the basketball. 

"I'm not gonna get in the way of the game because I want to have a little back-and-forth with Patrick Beverley. I'm Kevin Durant. You know who I am. Y’all know who I am."

Here's a perfect example of what KD is talking about:

[RELATEDKD, Kerr at odds over how much Warriors star should shoot]

Durant didn't take a shot here, but he certainly wasn't passive or tentative. Just because you only attempt eight field goals doesn't mean you were tentative.

But one thing everybody can agree on is that nine turnovers is way too many.

How will Durant approach Game 3? It's safe to assume he won't be taking advice from Tracy McGrady.

Thursday night can't get here soon enough.

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