Viewers' Guide: Must-see Fan Night doubleheader on NBA TV
San Antono Spurs vs. Houston Rockets (8 ET, NBA TV)
Fresh off retiring Tim Duncan’s No. 21 jersey, the San Antonio Spurs travel south to Houston to face the Rockets. This is the third of four matchups this season between these Texas foes, and the season series is still up for grabs after Houston won the first matchup and San Antonio took the second. They won’t meet again until March 6 (in San Antonio), so this game could have major implications on playoff seeding if the series tiebreaker is needed.
Speaking of playoff seeds, the Spurs (22-5) and Rockets (21-7) enter as the second-and third-best teams in the West. San Antonio held Houston to a season-low 38.2 percent shooting in their last matchup. The Rockets will look to bounce back from that performance and extend their NBA-best 10-game winning streak. With a win, San Antonio would improve to an NBA-best 15-1 on the road and 2-0 in Houston.
James Harden continues to dazzle in Houston with averages of 27.7 points, 11.8 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game this season. He was one rebound away from a third-straight triple-double on Saturday, and he’s tallied 10 or more assists in six straight games. In this week’s Kia MVP Ladder, Harden moved past Russell Westbrook for the No. 1 spot. The Rockets will need another big performance from their star against San Antonio if they hope to improve to 11-0 in December.
Everyone knew the Rockets would be active behind the 3-point line this season. But it’s hard to imagine many people expected what Houston has done over its last two games. In back-to-back wins over Minnesota and New Orleans, the Rockets shot the first-(61) and second-(51) most 3-pointers in a game in NBA history, finishing 41-for-112 on 3-pointers over that two-day span. That is an unprecedented attack from 3-point land and it should continue tonight against San Antonio.
Utah Jazz vs. Golden State Warriors (10:30 ET, NBA TV)
We Meet Again
The Warriors outlasted the Jazz in their last meeting 106-99. But the Jazz were without five players, including four starters — Derrick Favors, George Hill, Rodney Hood and Gordon Hayward. Hill is the only one who won’t play tonight, so expect Utah to have some extra firepower as it looks to beat Golden State for the first time since January 30, 2015.
The Jazz have won 11 of their last 13 games and have quietly become one of the most dominant teams in the NBA. Over this 13-game span, Utah ranks No. 5 in offensive rating, No. 3 in defensive rating and No. 3 in net rating, trailing only the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors. Utah still isn’t fully healthy (Alec Burks is out, too), but there’s no doubt it has all the tools to compete with the high-powered Warriors.
Finding Their Groove
Golden State is starting to look like the juggernaut many expected to see right at the beginning of 2016-17. The Warriors are 20-2 since early November and enter on a four-game win streak. They lead the league in field goal percentage (49.8), assists (31.5), steals (9.3), blocks (6.5) and +/- (+12.9). There’s little the Warriors can’t do, so the Jazz will need a near flawless game to leave Oakland with a win tonight.
Defense vs. Offense
You never know what’s going to happen when one of the best defenses in the league faces one of the best offenses. The Jazz allow an NBA-low 94.6 points per game while the Warriors score an NBA-high 117.9 points per game. Which side of the ball will prevail on Tuesday night? There’s only one way to find out!
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NBA TV’s Fan Night coverage begins at 7:30 ET