PREVIEW: Warriors at Rockets- March 20

Feb 24, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) and guard Ty Jerome (10) reactsafter a teammate’s three point basket and foul during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

PREVIEW: Warriors at Rockets- March 20

The Rockets will try to close out their six-game homestand with a winning record when they host the Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center on Monday night. The Rockets’ season-long three-game winning streak came to an end with Sunday’s 10-point loss to New Orleans. Houston has lost nine in a row against the Warriors, with its last win coming on Feb. 20, 2020, when Mike D’Antoni was still the team’s head coach.

Eye on the Warriors

Record: 36-36 (7th in Western Conference)

Offensive rating (rank): 114.2 (12th)

Defensive rating (rank): 114.0 (18th)

The Warriors arrive at Toyota on a three-game losing streak and find themselves one game up on Utah for 11th in the West. Only the Rockets and Spurs have won fewer road games than the Warriors, who have lost 11 straight away from Chase Center, with their last road win coming on Jan. 30 in Oklahoma City. One of their seven road wins came in Houston when they beat the Rockets 127-120 on Nov. 20. Stephen Curry is averaging 31.5 points in eight games since returning from the leg injury that kept him off the floor for a month. He’s shooting 51% from the field in that span and 47% from behind the 3-point line.

Matchup to watch: Rockets perimeter defense vs. Klay Thompson

Thompson has scored more than 40 points in both games he’s played against the Rockets this season. He made 10 3-pointers while scoring 41 points against them in November, but eclipsed that when he scored 42 points on 12 made 3s against them last month. The Rockets account for two of his five 40-point nights since returning from the knee and Achilles injuries that kept him off the floor for more than two seasons. Monday’s game is the second night of a back-to-back, so the Rockets will only have an afternoon walk-through to try to straighten out the issues they’ve had trying to defend Thompson this season, but a lot of it just comes down to attention to detail and communication.

What I’m watching for

In three games against the Warriors this season, Alperen Sengun has averaged just seven points on 41% shooting while failing to log more than 24 minutes. He’s scored a total of six points in the second half against Golden State this season, and he didn’t play in the fourth quarter twice in three games. The speed with which the Warriors play and their ability to take advantage of the opponent’s weakness on the defensive end of the floor has contributed to Stephen Silas keeping him off the floor at the end of games. The best way to defend the Warriors’ offensive attack is to switch everything, a defense the Rockets have opted not to play when Sengun is on the floor. Can the Rockets center impact this game enough on the offensive end to keep him on the court, or will Silas decide to give Usman Garuba a bigger role or simply play small with Jabari Smith Jr. at center?

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