It's a 9:30 tip on ESPN for Rockets-Warriors, and the stakes are high for a January game.
It's never easy going into Oracle Arena and getting a win. This year, the Warriors are as good as they've ever been. If the road to the NBA Finals goes through Oakland, and it's looking increasingly likely it does, then the Rockets must prove they can actually beat this team. This is their fourth attempt this year.
Both of these teams boast star-studded starting lineups. The biggest advantage for Golden State on paper over the Rockets is on the bench. The Warriors are the deepest team in the NBA, with Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Marreese Speights, and Shaun Livingston all healthy and playing well. The new-look Rockets bench of Smoove, Brewer and Shved will be tested tonight.
Speights and Lee are both elite scorers at their position, so Josh Smith's defense, which has been good-not-great since he became a Rocket, will be essential for the stretches of the game when Dwight is sitting. If he can hold the fort, and possibly start some classic Brewer run-outs, Houston has a puncher's chance.
Who's excited? Who's nervous? Get the discussion going in the comments.