Game Preview: Warriors vs. Rockets – 10/17/17

THE CHAMPS ARE BACK
The reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors begin their title defense on Tuesday when they host the visiting Houston Rockets on Opening Night. This will be the first of three matchups between the Warriors and Rockets this season, but Tuesday’s game represents Houston’s lone visit to the Bay Area. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 7:15 to witness the on-court celebration of Golden State’s 2017 NBA Championship, including the ring and banner ceremonies. Additionally, all fans in attendance will receive an Opening Night t-shirt, and the first 10,000 fans will receive a 2017 Championship banner. Those unable to be at Oracle Arena can watch the game on TNT, or listen to the call on 95.7 The Game on the Warriors Radio Network.

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*Only available outside of the Bay Area

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HEAD-TO-HEAD LAST SEASON
The Warriors and Rockets met four times last season, with Golden State prevailing in three of those four contests. Houston earned their lone victory in the season series with a 132-127 double overtime win in Golden State on December 1st. Overall, the Warriors have won three-straight and 12 of the last 15 meetings between the two teams. <!– Full Recap –>

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MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW
66-15
1st in West
116.0 PPG (1st)
44.3 RPG (9th)
30.4 APG (1st)

HOU

26-55
14th in West
104.7 PPG (17th)
43.6 RPG (15th)
20.9 APG (26th)

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PROJECTED STARTERS

GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia

HOU: Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Clint Capela

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES

GSW: Omri Casspi (sprained right ankle) is questionable. Team Notes

HOU: N/A. Team Notes

NEW FACES, NEW PLACES
The vast majority of Golden State’s roster that won the Championship last year has returned for another season by the Bay, but there are a few noteworthy alterations. For instance, both Nick Young and Omri Casspi were signed during free agency, and those two sharpshooters figure to play a major role on Golden State’s bench units throughout the season. Also, second round pick Jordan Bell was acquired via the NBA Draft, and the young big man certainly made his presence felt throughout the preseason with his impactful play. On the other end of the court on Tuesday night, the Rockets will also be incorporating some new pieces into their roster. Specifically, Chris Paul – whom the Rockets acquired via trade this past offseason – will be making his first regular season start in a Houston uniform. The Warriors are obviously quite familiar with Paul due to his long tenure with the Clippers, but Tuesday will offer the first chance to oppose him in his new threads.

2016-17 TEAM LEADERS

GSW
PTS: Curry (25.3)
REB: Durant (8.3)
AST: Green (7.0)

HOU

PTS: Harden (29.1)
REB: Harden (8.1)
AST: Harden (11.2)

HOUSTON SCOUTING REPORT
The aforementioned addition of Paul was certainly a big one, as the chance to add a nine-time All-Star doesn’t come around very often. Paul will slide next to MVP runner-up James Harden to form one of the most star-studded backcourts the NBA has ever seen, and certainly one of the strongest in the league today. The Warriors, however, have a backcourt they feel confident putting up against anybody and for good reason, and the position battle between Paul-Harden and Curry-Thompson should prove to be a delight for fans throughout their three matchups in the season ahead. While both teams are extremely potent on offense, the Warriors were a significantly better defensive team than Houston last year, and the Rockets will likely need a strong defensive performance if they’re going to come away with the win on Tuesday night.

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