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Game Preview: Warriors at Rockets - 1/4/18

BACK-TO-BACK INTO 2018
Coming off a thrilling 125-122 victory over the Mavericks, the Warriors travel to Houston on Thursday to finish their first set of back-to-back games of the new year. This will be the second of three matchups between the Warriors and Rockets this season, after Houston pulled out a one point victory in their first encounter back in the first game of the season. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. (Pacific). Watch the action on NBC Sports Bay Area or TNT, or listen to the call on 95.7 The Game, the Warriors Mobile App and the Warriors Radio Network.

LAST TIME OUT
Stephen Curry sank the game-winning three-pointer in Golden State's 125-122 road win over the Mavericks on Wednesday. Full Recap

MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW HOU
30-8 27-9
1st in West 2nd in West
PTS: 115.2 (2nd) PTS: 115.2 (1st)
REB: 44.8 (9th) REB: 43.8 (14th)
AST: 30.5 (1st) AST: 22.2 (17th)

LAST GAME'S STARTERS
GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia
HOU: Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Clint Capela

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: Kevin Durant (right calf strain) is out. Omri Casspi (mid back strain) is questionable. Team Notes
HOU: James Harden (Grade 2 hamstring strain), Luc Mbah a Moute (right shoulder dislocation), Chinanu Onuaku (illness) and Troy Williams (right knee MCL sprain) are out. Demetrius Jackson and Zhou Qi are on G League assignment. Team Notes

SPICY CURRY
It seems pretty clear Stephen Curry took full advantage of his recovery from an ankle injury, as he’s been as good as ever since he returned following an 11-game absence. As if his 38-point, 10 three-pointer debut against the Grizzlies in Golden State’s final game of 2017 wasn’t enough, Curry backed up that performance and possibly topped it with a 32-point, eight assist effort against the Mavericks on Wednesday, which included a game-winning three-pointer. It was his sixth career game-winning shot with under five seconds remaining, and oddly enough three of those six have come against Dallas. Curry has now scored at least 30 points and hit at least five threes in each of his last four games, trailing only his five-game streak from Feb. 22 - March 3, 2016, for the longest stretch of 30-point/5-three games in league history.

TEAM LEADERS

GSW HOU
PTS: Curry (26.8) PTS: Harden (32.3)
REB: Green (7.4) REB: Capela (11.1)
AST: Green (7.6) AST: Harden (9.1)

HOUSTON SCOUTING REPORT
The Warriors haven’t seen the Rockets since the first game of the season, and they’ll look considerably different when they encounter them again on Thursday. That’s because James Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring with an average of 32.3 points per game, recently suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain and will be out for at least the next two weeks. Still, the Rockets are in great position, as their 27-9 record trails only Golden State for the top spot in the West. Thursday’s game will feature the two highest scoring teams as the league, as the Dubs (115.4 ppg) rank just slightly ahead of Houston (115.3 ppg). Chris Paul, who was acquired via trade in the offseason, has been his usual dominant self, and is currently joined by super-sup Eric Gordon in the Rockets’ starting backcourt. The Warriors and Rockets will meet just three times this season, meaning a Houston victory on Thursday would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker in the season series.

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