Warriors-Rockets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 04, 2013
With Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut back, the now-healthy Golden State Warriors are on the verge of matching their longest winning streak of the season. Keeping things going, though, could prove difficult in Houston, where they haven't won in more than five years. The surging Warriors try to snap an eight-game road losing streak to the Rockets, who aim for a fifth win in six games Tuesday night as these teams meet for the first time. Golden State (30-17) continues to look more and more like a legitimate contender, especially with its core back at full strength. After sitting out two games due to an ankle injury, Curry had 29 points to lead all five starters in double figures as the Warriors beat Phoenix 113-93 on Saturday for their fourth consecutive win. Bogut scored 11 to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks in his third game since missing 38 due a troublesome left ankle. The Australian big man has blocked 10 shots since returning. "We are a different basketball team with those guys on the floor," said Mark Jackson, whose team won five in a row Dec. 5-12. "Offensively, defensively - it puts everybody in their proper rotational spot. When you start the type of lineup that we start, we have every right to believe that we can win any ballgame we play in." Averaging 108.8 points on 50.1 percent shooting during its run, much of Golden State's success comes from a willingness to share the basketball. The Warriors recorded a season-high 34 assists Saturday and set a franchise record with four players (Curry, David Lee, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack) dishing out at least seven - the first team in the NBA to do since Nov. 24, 2006, when Denver did it against Golden State. "I just think it is our ability to be united. We are a team that's together," Jackson said. "We understand the assignment, we understand the call - when you are together it's tough to let go of the rope. I know it's a sermon we have been preaching all year long, but it's the truth. You don't stumble into wins. This is a team that is together. We understand that we are a very good team and we understand what we have to do to continue to win." Wins haven't been easy to come by at Toyota Center, where Houston (26-23) has outscored Golden State by an average of 15.0 points in winning all the meetings since a 112-95 loss on Dec. 31, 2007. The Warriors have also lost 14 of 16 to the Rockets overall. Houston appears to have turned a corner since dropping seven straight, winning five of its last seven, including four of five while averaging 112.6 points. Everything seemed to be working Saturday in a 109-95 victory over Charlotte. James Harden had 21 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double while Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson scored 24 apiece for the Rockets, who outscored the Bobcats 58-32 in the paint and held a 50-35 rebounding edge. "I think our team is starting to see what works and what doesn't work and I think they're starting to figure it out," Kevin McHale told the Rockets' official website. Omer Asik also came up big with 19 points and 15 boards for his 20th double-double. The Rockets, though, could have their hands full down low Tuesday as the Warriors are fourth in the league in rebounding at 44.7 per game and are 23-3 when holding an edge on the glass. Lee, who leads the league with 31 double-doubles, is the first player to post 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in four consecutive games since Kevin Garnett in 2003.
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