Dec 6, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Dwight Howard (12) gets a rebound during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Warriors 105-83. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors Look to Stop Dwight and the Surging Rockets: Game Preview

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The Golden State Warriors have managed to avoid catastrophe without their starting center Andrew Bogut, posting a 3-3 record since his injury on Jan. 31.

However, Thursday night may be a long night if Bogut is indeed out again with a shoulder injury, as the Warriors take on Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena.

There appears to be some uncertainty surrounding Bogut’s injury, and the Warriors do not know when he will be healthy,

Without Bogut, the Warriors don’t have much to defend against Howard, who is averaging 18.9 points and 12.5 rebounds in his first season with the Rockets. The man dubbed “Superman” will surely have his way against the aging Jermaine O’Neal or anyone else the Warriors try to throw at him. Howard has posted a double-double in each of his last six games, and the Warriors may be in trouble if Bogut cannot suit up.

Another potential issue: the Rockets are on a tear, having won their last eight games and owning the league’s best record since New Years’ Day. They are coming off a 26-point walloping of the Lakers on Wednesday night, a game where Howard had some fun with the Laker fans by joining in their “Howard sucks” chant.

The Warriors also played last night, so both teams will be on the back-ends of their respective back-to-backs. Golden State withstood the Kings 101-92 on the road, but they will have bring their play up a notch if they want to snap the Rockets’ win streak.

Tale of the Tape

Warriors

  • Points per game: 103.5 (10th)
  • Field-goal percentage: 45.9 (8th)
  • Three-point percentage: 38.1% (4th)
  • Defensive field-goal percentage: 43.6% (4th)
  • Rebounds per game: 45.8 (2nd)
  • Turnovers: 15.6 (29th)
  • Bench scoring per game: 24.1 (29th)

Rockets:

  • Points per game: 106.0 (3rd)
  • Field-goal percentage: 47.5% (4th)
  • Three-point percentage: 35.4% (T-18th)
  • Defensive field-goal percentage: 43.8% (5th)
  • Rebounds per game: 45.1 (T-7th)
  • Turnovers: 15.4 (27th)
  • Bench scoring per game: 25.8 (26th)

Blake Making Warriors’ Debut

The Warriors are optimistic that the newly-acquired Steve Blake will be able to play in Thursday night’s game. Blake was brought in from the Lakers in a trade for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks on Wednesday. If he does suit up, look for him to take over the backup point guard role, and for Jordan Crawford to shift to the two-guard off the bench.

History Says…

History favors the Rockets, both past and present. Houston has won 18 of its last 22 games against Golden State. This season, the Rockets have won both games, including a 22-point blowout win in Houston on Dec. 6.

Injury Report

GSW: Andrew Bogut (left shoulder inflammation), Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Nemanja Nedovic (left hamstring strain/right foot inflammation) are out.

HOU: Ronnie Brewer (sprained right ankle) is out. Greg Smith (sore right knee) is day-to-day.

Probable Starters

GOLDEN STATE (32-22) 

  • F Andre Iguodala (9.6 PPG)
  • F David Lee (18.9 PPG)
  • C Jermaine O’Neal (6.5 PPG)
  • G Klay Thompson (18.6 PPG)
  • G Stephen Curry (24.6 PPG)

HOUSTON (37-17)

  • F Chandler Parsons (17.0 PPG)
  • F Terrence Jones (11.7 PPG)
  • C Dwight Howard (18.8 PPG)
  • G James Harden (23.9 PPG)
  • G Pat Beverley (9.6 PPG)

Game Info

Tip-off: 7:30 PST

Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

TV: TNT

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Tags: Golden State Warriors

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