With about half the NBA season completed, there is a game between two elite Western Conference teams. These teams are the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. Entering this season, the Rockets looked like the only team in the Western Conference that had a legitimate chance of defeating the Warriors in a seven game playoff series. So far this season, the Rockets have looked as good as advertised by winning 31 of its first 43 games. Their opponents in this contest, the Golden State Warriors, are the defending NBA Finals champions and once again look like the best team in the NBA. The Warriors are currently 37-9 and are the definitive favorites to win the championship this season. If the Rockets have any hope of upsetting the Warriors in the playoffs, they will have to defend their home court. Saturday will be a great test to see if the Rockets are up to that challenge.
Houston’s success is due to its elite duo which consists of James Harden and Chris Paul. Earlier this season, Harden looked like a lock to win the MVP award. Harden was averaging 31.7 points and nine assists per game before suffering a hamstring injury which caused him to miss seven games. However, Harden did return to action on Thursday against the Timberwolves so one can expect him to play a big role against the Warriors on Saturday. Assisting Harden is future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul. In his first season with the Rockets, Paul has been phenomenal and is averaging 18.7 points and 9.1 assists per game. More importantly, Paul is averaging about 1.8 steals per game and will be tasked with guarding Stephen Curry on Saturday. If the Rockets plan on winning this game, Paul will need to be at his best on both offense and defense.
Golden State’s success has been due to its star point guard Stephen Curry and its star forward Kevin Durant. Both players are former MVP award winners and have proven that they are still elite in today’s NBA. This season, Curry is averaging 27.7 points per game along with 6.5 assists per game. Curry’s statistics are even more impressive once one factors in his efficiency from the floor. Curry is shooting an absurd 49.5% from the field and 41.8% from the three point line. Assisting Curry is fellow superstar Kevin Durant. This season, Durant is averaging 26.2 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds per game. Similarly to Curry, Durant is also extremely efficient from the floor. He is shooting 51.1% from the field and 40.4% from behind the arc. With both players on the same roster, the Warriors are almost unbeatable on a regular basis and I expect Curry and Durant to have big games against the Rockets on Saturday night.
As for my prediction, I have to side with the Warriors. Although the Rockets are at home, one does not simply bet against the Warriors. The Warriors are clearly the best team in the NBA and I expect them to outlast the Rockets down the stretch of this game. The Rockets are also dealing with two very underrated suspensions to forwards Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green which could drastically affect the team’s defense and bench production. For these reasons, I expect the Warriors to win an extremely close game on Saturday night.
Rockets vs. Warriors: Game Time, TV Channel & Viewing Details
Event: Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors
Date: Saturday, January 20, 2018
Start Time: 8:30 P.M. EST
Location: Toyota Center in Houston, TX
How to Watch Rockets vs. Warriors: Game Time, TV Channel & Viewing Details On Your Tablet Or Mobile Device
You can live stream the game on the ABC app.