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

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

SAN FRANCISCO -- Refreshed in the wake of the All-Star break, the Warriors on Thursday go back to work against familiar enemies with an unfamiliar look.

Gone are most of the Rockets who faced the Warriors in four of the past five postseasons and were eliminated each time. Though James Harden remains, the reshuffled starting lineup is without a center -- or anyone taller than 6-foot-8 forward Robert Covington.

Which should make for intrigue when the teams meet at Chase Center. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff of the TNT telecast scheduled for 7:35.

The Warriors (12-43) have lost four straight and 10 of their last 11. They did, however, pull off their most surprising win of the season, 116-104, against Houston on Christmas Day at Chase.

After a January stretch during which they lost seven of 11 games, the Rockets (34-20) shook up their roster in an effort to solidify their playoff positioning, trading starting center Clint Capela and leaving 37-year-old Tyson Chandler as the only active center on the roster.



F – Robert Covington
F – Danuel House
C – P.J. Tucker
G – Russell Westbrook
G – James Harden


F – Andrew Wiggins
F – Draymond Green
C – Marquese Chriss
G – Damian Lee
G – Jordan Poole


Rockets: G Eric Gordon (left lower leg contusion) is listed as questionable.

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) and G Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation) are listed as out.


Rockets: Capela’s absence effectively moves Tucker to C, where his sturdy 6-5, 240-pound frame relies on physicality to compete in the paint. Results thus far have been mixed, as Houston had won three in a row before the trade deadline but has since gone 2-2.

The other new face, along with Covington, is itinerant F Jeff Green, who signed a 10-day contract on Tuesday. He has played for nine different franchises.

Harden’s 35.3 ppg leads the NBA, with Westbrook’s 27.2 ppg ranking seventh in the NBA and second on the Rockets.

Key players off the bench have been G Eric Gordon, the Sixth Man, along with G Austin Rivers and G Ben McLemore, who is showing signs of stabilizing his career.

Beginning with the Christmas Day loss, Houston has lost seven of its last 11 road games.

In contrast to their lack of postseason success against the Warriors, the Rockets have won six of the last nine regular-season meetings, including a 129-112 rout last Nov. 6 in Houston.

Warriors: With the 10-day contracts of PG Jeremy Pargo and SG Zach Norvell expiring, the Warriors are down to 10 available players. They are expected to sign 7-1 C Dragan Bender to a 10-day contract and add him to the roster by Sunday.

[RELATED: Bender compared himself to Draymond during draft interview]

Meanwhile, the bench consists of PG Ky Bowman, C/F Kevon Looney, PF Eric Paschall, C/F Alen Smailagic and SF Juan Toscano-Anderson. Only Paschall has been healthy and in the rotation all season.

In three games since joining the Warriors, Wiggins is averaging 23.0 ppg on 57.5-percent shooting, including 56.7 pct. from distance.

After spending the first half of the season at SG, Poole has been shifted to PG and will make his second start there. He had 12 points, three assists and three rebounds over 32 minutes in the last game before the break, Feb. 12 at Phoenix.

Chriss is averaging 14.0 ppg on 63.4-percent shooting over his last 11 games, nine of which were starts.

Poole’s streak of consecutive free throws is at 19.

Officials: John Goble (crew chief), Nick Buchert, JB DeRosa.

Warriors' Steve Kerr reveals 'most fun' part of coaching last-place team

Warriors' Steve Kerr reveals 'most fun' part of coaching last-place team

Prior to the coronavirus suspension, the 2019-20 Warriors were well on their way to securing the worst record in the NBA.

At 15-50, Golden State was nearly five games removed from the next-closest team in the Western Conference standings.

Nevertheless, coach Steve Kerr tries to reflect on the positives of such a dismal season.

“Well I think that’s probably been the most fun part of this season,” Kerr said on “Home Court” with Jordan Brenner and his son Eli. “Watching those guys, Ky [Bowman] and Eric [Paschall], Jordan Poole, Marquese Chriss and Damion Lee.

“To watch them progress and grow and learn, is really gratifying. So it’s helpful not only for their own careers but for our team.”

[RELATED: What Steph asked when Warriors prepped to play without fans]

An injury-riddled roster afforded many of these players extensive minutes, allowing several of them to secure longer-term contracts with the Warriors going forward.

Once Steph Curry and Klay Thompson can be 100 percent in their return to the lineup, the rapid development of these younger players could pay significant dividends for the Dubs.

What separates Steph Curry as favorite among all Bay Area MVP athletes

What separates Steph Curry as favorite among all Bay Area MVP athletes

Bay Area sports fans have been blessed with an abundance of MVPs in their own backyard.

Since the Giants moved to San Francisco from New York, a member of the team has won the MVP award 10 separate times. The A's haven't been as individually dominant, but they've won four MVP awards during their tenure in Oakland.

The 49ers have accounted for five MVP awards, while the Raiders have two to their name -- not including the one Marcus Allen won while in Los Angeles. The Warriors have two, while the Kings are still looking for their first. Both San Jose teams -- the Sharks and the Earthquakes -- each have one.

Yep, there has been no shortage of historic individual performances on Bay Area teams. Several of them currently exist as one of the standard-bearers in their respective sports. But, it begs the question: Which individual Bay Area MVP stands above the rest? How would one even decide?

Well, allow me to take a shot at it.

NBC Sports Bay Area compiled eight former Bay Area MVPs in a tweet Saturday, asking fans to choose their favorite in a "March Madness"-esque bracket. Some head-to-head battles were easier to decide than others, and arriving at an overall winner was like splitting hairs.

For the first round, let's start in the top right corner and work clockwise.

Curry vs. Wondo:

Apologies to Mr. Wondolowski, but this was the easiest choice of them all. The MLS' all-time leader in goals scored brought home the only MVP award in Earthquakes franchise history back in 2012 when he scored 27 goals across 32 matches in leading San Jose to the championship.

Those are fantastic, MVP numbers. But they're not worthy of being unanimous.

There has been only one unanimous MVP throughout the history of the NBA, and his name is Steph Curry. He won it in 2015-16 after producing arguably the most impressive season by a guard in the history of the league -- which one-upped the MVP award he won the prior season.

Wondo will go down as one of the best scorers in MLS history. Curry literally changed the way the game is played, and did something no other MVP ever had.

Bonds vs. Thornton:

One guy was ridiculously left off the league's list of the top 100 players in the sport. The other is the most prolific power hitter in the history of baseball, and yet still somehow undeserving of the Hall of Fame. Baloney.

Joe Thornton has been overlooked and underappreciated throughout much of his career, but that was impossible to do when the Sharks acquired him in a trade with the Boston Bruins during the 2005-06 season. His sheer talent lifted the entire team as soon as he arrived, as Thornton led San Jose to the playoffs and was named the league's MVP after totaling a career-high 96 assists and 125 points.

While Thornton absolutely deserved to be named MVP that season, it remains the only one he has ever won. Barry Bonds, meanwhile, won five with the Giants -- in addition to the two he won with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Advantage: Bonds.

Mays vs. Young:

This one's tough.

Steve Young won two MVP awards in a span of three years, and might have won more had he not been stuck behind Joe Montana (we'll get to him in a moment) for the first part of his career. His mobility and passing accuracy were a deadly combination, particularly with the greatest player in NFL history, Jerry Rice, on the other end of many of his passes.

Young is one of the greatest players in 49ers history. But he's not on the shortlist of the best ever to play his sport.

The same can't be said for Willie Mays. A prototype for the modern five-tool player, there wasn't any weakness in his game. In addition to being a two-time MVP (although only one came in San Francisco), Mays was a 24-time All-Star and 12-time Gold Glove winner. His legendary over-the-head catch at the Polo Grounds remains one of the greatest individual plays in the history of baseball.

Mays advances, though Young got unlucky with the bracket.

Montana vs. Henderson:

Rickey Henderson won the MVP in 1990, and was liable to steal any others that were left hanging around. Despite retiring following the 2003 season, Henderson's 1,406 career stolen bases are still 468 more than his closest competitor. But he wasn't all speed, clearly. The season he won the MVP, he tied a career-high with 28 home runs. He literally led the A's to the World Series that season, where they fell short and were eventually swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

Joe Montana was named the NFL's MVP in back-to-back seasons in 1989 and 1990, both of which culminated in the 49ers winning the Super Bowl. For that reason, Joe Cool advances.

The Final Four

Curry vs. Bonds

Holy moly. This one is impossible.

Both Curry and Bonds revolutionized their respective sports. During their MVP seasons, both struck more fear into the hearts of their opponents than any other player in the league. Bonds made splash hits into McCovey Cove a thing. Curry literally splashed his way into the NBA record books. In terms of sheer talent and prominence, I'd argue both Curry and Bonds belong on the Bay Area's Mount Rushmore.

But ...

Despite his best efforts, Bonds was never able to push the Giants over the top. He came very close, but that damn rally monkey ...

Not only did the Warriors win a championship in one of Curry's MVP seasons, but he will forever be the poster child for ushering in a completely new -- and successful -- era of Golden State basketball.

Curry advances to the finals.

Montana vs. Mays

Legend versus legend. San Francisco icon against San Francisco icon. Talk about a toss-up.

From an individual statistic standpoint, Mays might be the pick. But he never won a World Series in San Francisco. In fact, when he won the MVP in 1968, the rival Dodgers won it all. Yuck.

Winning is fun, and it matters -- and Montana did a lot of it. Those Lombardi trophies talk.

Montana to the finals.

The Finals

Curry vs. Montana

Like I said, splitting hairs. When you get this far down the line and are forced to choose between such legendary players, there's no wrong answer.

And yet ...

Montana left the 49ers. Granted, it wasn't entirely his choice, but he finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, and that left a sour taste in many fans' mouths. 

Curry is the Warriors' homegrown savior. He personifies the franchise's transition from laughingstock to perennial contender, and breathed basketball life into a region that had been subsisting off life support for oh so long. While nothing is written in stone, here's betting that Curry remains a Warrior for life.

That shouldn't be the deciding factor in this bracket, but with so many great Bay Area MVPs to choose from, you've got to draw the line somehow.

Favorite Bay Area MVP: Steph Curry

Which is your favorite? Make your voice heard, and respond on Twitter.