The Golden State Warriors resemble a completely different team when they are without their star player Stephen Curry, who missed their last game against Dallas Mavericks as they lost by an uncharacteristic 23 points.
The Warriors' players have to up their game when they face Houston Rockets on Thursday at Toyota Center as they are once again going to be without Curry, who is out with a bruised lower left leg. The Warriors, despite their loss against the Mavericks, are still the team to beat in the league as they have suffered only two losses in the regular season so far.
The Warriors' opponents for Thursday, Rockets, who may have been decent in the league so far this season as they lie on seventh position in the western conference, have been poor in their last few games.
The Rockets have lost three out of their last four games, which makes their game against the Warriors even more difficult as the visitors will be determined to come up with a better performance and erase their humiliating loss against the Mavericks from their minds.
The Rockets, as always, will depend on the services of their talismanic player James Harden, who averages 28.4 points per game (ppg) this season. Trevor Ariza also needs to step up his game against the Warriors. The Rockets have been quite careless as was witnessed in their last game with a number of turnovers.
"We gave up too many offensive rebounds and turned the basketball over," AP quoted Harden as saying. "We're kind of beating ourselves in that aspect."
However if Harden gets his game going against the Curry-less Warriors team, the Rockets could hand the Warriors their third defeat of the season.
The Warriors, who were poor against the Mavericks as far as shooting was concerned, need sharp shooter Klay Thompson to get his shooting boots on. Thompson averages 19.3 ppg this season while Draymond Green, who needs to support Thompson against the Rockets, averages 14.8 ppg.
The Warriors' interim coach Luke Walton is aware they have to do without the services of Curry against the Rockets, which is not going to be easy as the Warriors are hugely dependent on their star player.
''He's one of those rare players in this league that affects the entire game just by being on the court,'' Walton said of Curry. ''Obviously without him the spacing won't be as good.''
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