NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Houston 35 26 31 26 118
Golden State 20 34 32 26 112
5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST5:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 PM CT0:30 , February 23, 2019
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, California  Attendance: 19,596

Harden's health clouds latest Rockets-Warriors clash

According to STATS
According to STATS

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

  1. The Rockets have lost three of their last four games, including a 111-106 loss against the Lakers on Thursday. Houston shot 29.3 percent from three-point range in the loss, moving to 2-11 this season when making less than 30.0 percent of its three-point attempts.
  2. James Harden extended his 30-point streak to 32 games in the loss against Los Angeles by scoring exactly 30 points. Harden has averaged 37.5 points over the last 10 games of the streak, compared to an average of 42.8 points over the first 22 games.
  3. Golden State came out of the All-Star break with a 125-123 victory over the Kings on Thursday. The Warriors have reached 125 points an NBA-high 21 times this season, going 19-2 in those games.
  4. Stephen Curry made 10 three-pointers in the win over Sacramento, giving him five games this season making double-digit threes, the most in a single season in NBA history. Curry has 14 career games making at least 10 three-pointers -- the only other players all-time with multiple games with 10+ three-pointers made are Klay Thompson (5) and J.R. Smith (3).
  5. Kevin Durant tied a career-high with seven blocks in the win over the Kings. It was the first time in NBA history that a player made 10+ threes and a player blocked seven or more shots in the same game.
  6. The Rockets are 4-1 against the Warriors in the regular season since the start of last season, the best mark by any team against Golden State over that time. Harden posted a 40-point triple-double (44 pts, 10 reb, 15 ast) when these teams last met, a 135-134 (OT) Houston win on January 3.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets have had the Golden State Warriors' number this season. However, when the teams meet on Saturday, the Rockets may not have the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player.

Houston guard James Harden is listed as questionable for the game in Oakland, Calif., because of a cervical neck strain. Harden was bothered by soreness Thursday during the Rockets' 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He was seen receiving treatment to the neck and right shoulder during the contest.

The Rockets have used different means to beat the two-time defending champs in their first two head-to-heads since Golden State prevailed in a seven-game conference finals last May.

Houston held a Stephen Curry-less Warriors team to 86 points -- Golden State's lowest output of the season -- and just 42 percent shooting in a 107-86 home win in November.

The Rockets then turned Harden loose in the January rematch at Golden State, watching him pour in 44 points -- including a game-winning 3-pointer -- in a 135-134 overtime thriller.

More than a month later, that game still weighs heavily on the mind of Curry, who countered Harden with 35 points of his own that night.

"They just made one more shot," he noted to reporters after the Warriors Thursday win over the Sacramento Kings. "We understand how talented they are, how well James has been playing. It's going to be a dogfight ... a defensive test for us."

At the time of Curry's statement, the extent of Harden's injury had not been made public. The NBA's leading scorer at 36.5 points per game, Harden was bothered by a left shoulder strain prior to the All-Star break but didn't miss any contests. He has played in 55 of Houston's 58 games as he missed three games early in the season due to a hamstring injury.

In the overtime win at Oakland, Harden complemented his 44 points with 10 rebounds and 15 assists for a triple-double.

While there was no triple-double against the Lakers, Harden did extend his streak of games with 30 or more points to 32.

The Rockets lost their second in a row and fell to 33-25, a full 12 games below where they stood at this point last season. It's gotten some analysts grumbling about the club's style of play and reliance on Harden.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni labeled such talk "absurd" before the Thursday game.

"I don't know if they watched last year," he said of the naysayers. "Nobody else can do what he does. ... If you're a ball-stopper, usually you're inefficient. He's very efficient. So when the ball stops, it's a good thing."

The Rockets earned the home-court advantage over Golden State in last year's playoffs by finishing seven games ahead of the Warriors during the regular season.

That almost surely won't be the case should they meet again this postseason. The Warriors (42-16), with the best record in the West, have a nine-game advantage over Houston, currently in the No. 5 seed.

Golden State won for the 17th time in its past 19 games by surviving a late rally from the Kings on Thursday in a 125-123 home decision. Curry finished with 36 points, making 10 of his 16 3-point attempts.

Harden (276) and Curry (246) enter the game ranked first and second, respectively, in the NBA in 3-pointers made.

Harden also led the league last season with what was then a career-best 265.

Curry got the better of his rival in 3-pointers in last year's playoff showdown, however, making 27 of 75 (36 percent) while Harden was harassed into 19 of 78 (24.4 percent).

Curry saved his best for last in the series, going 7 of 15 on 3-point tries in a 27-point effort in Golden State's 101-92 win at Houston in Game 7. Harden went just 2-for-13 from long range on his 32-point night.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 23, 2019

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