The San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets clash for the second time in three days with James Harden's team looking for another win. Both teams have made encouraging starts to their season, but a victory over the local rivals is always one to cherish.
When the two teams met in San Antonio on Wednesday, Houston came out on top 101-99, thanks to Harden's triple double. Harden, thriving in his point guard role again, finished with 24 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds and the Spurs will again be wary of "The Beard" trumping them another time.
As good as Harden was in that game, though, it was the Rockets defence that eventually won them the contest. Needing a couple of stops late on to prevent the Spurs from levelling the game or even going up, the defence did just that to help their team to victory.
Harden knows it is the Houston defence that will be key this season, if they are to go far. "It was important for us," Harden said. "The only way we're going to get to where we want to go is on the defensive end. The game wasn't pretty at all, but defensively we got stops."
The Houston Rockets will be more than happy for the game to be ugly again as long as they pick up another win and go level with the San Antonio Spurs on 6-3.
If San Antonio are to stop the Rockets from doing that they obviously need to stop Harden. The guard got off to a fast start against the Spurs in the last game, with Gregg Popovich's plan of putting Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green on Harden not enough.
Popovich knows stopping Harden from making plays will not be easy. "He's always been a great passer," Popovich said. "He has the ball in his hands a lot more as the point guard. He is one of the best players in the league. Very difficult to guard."
The Spurs overcame that loss and a three-game skid at home with a comfortable 96-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons, but they will know the Rockets will pose a bigger threat.
Where to Watch Live
The NBA game is scheduled for a 8pm ET (1am GMT, 6.30am IST) start. Live Streamng and TV information below.
India: No Live coverage. Phoenix vs Brooklyn will be shown live on TV on Sony Six and Sony Six HD. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
USA: Live Streaming: NBA League Pass.
UK: TV: BT Sport. Live Streaming: Watch BT Sport.
Australia and New Zealand: TV: ESPN.
International (including India): NBA Online.