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Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors game preview

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The Rockets look to bounce back after an embarrassing loss to the Nuggets at home when they take on the defending champs and MVP in Houston.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

First off, I have to apologize for causing the Rockets to lose two nights ago. That was on me. It totally had nothing to do with a lack of effort on defense or the fact that Houston was missing it's two best offensive bigs.

In all seriousness, I actually considered going with my Overreaction Preview after game 1, which would have been an all-time record. But I think most Rockets fans, or at least the logical ones, have come to the conclusion that bad games happen. And missing players sucks. And setting up new rotations sucks too. Lots of things sucked about the Rockets and their situation in game 1.

The Warriors come into town after whipping the Pelicans in the first game of their title defense. After these two teams met in the Western Conference Finals last season, my guess is that there isn't much love lost between the squads.

I'm sure Warriors fans will try to argue otherwise, but the Warriors have absolutely become the media darlings of the NBA and the media. Coverage of the Dubs has oversaturated ESPN and every online sports writing outfit. I know that complaining about the Warriors as a Rockets fan will ensure that I'll get sent tons of "You're just salty because we're the champs" comments from Dubs fans, but true is true. I think we're all tired of reading about how Steph Curry picked his nose on Thursday or that Andrew Bogut hasn't taken a shower in 12 years. Seriously, no one cares.

Tip off is at 8:30pm CST on ESPN.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Ty Lawson vs. Stephen Curry

Lawson said Curry coasted in the postseason because he never had to guard a good point guard. He wasn't wrong, but no one cared.

Curry scoffed at the idea and ESPN wanted to build him a statue.

Doc Rivers said that the Warriors were lucky to avoid injuries last season. He wasn't wrong either.

Curry apologized for playing the team in front of them. ESPN called him a saint and a miracle.

Look, the Warriors got SUPER lucky last season. That can't be debated. But it's not like they chose to be lucky. Much like most things in the NBA, it was out of their control. Of course they could only play the games in front of them, but if you want to make the argument that MJ not being in the league means the Rockets' titles get asterisks, then the Warriors not having to play against a fully healthy Jrue Holiday, Mike Conley, Patrick Beverley, Donatas Motiejunas, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love practically means their title shouldn't count.

Point being: this is a stupid argument.

Also, Curry is going to try to score 50 against Ty tonight.

Advantage: Warriors

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Klay Thompson

Bill Worrell voiced a concern that has to terrify Rockets fans. Basically, after Harden drove to the basket and got hacked for the eighth time in the first half against Denver, he wondered if refs were going to call Harden differently than they had in the past.

Now, I'm not trying to get into a long discussion about whether or not Harden needs the free throw line to be effective, but if the NBA truly has made a conscious effort to curb Harden's free throws regardless of him actually getting fouled, that could spell trouble for Houston.

Also, Klay is going to try to score 50 against Harden tonight.

Advantage: Warriors

Small Forward: Trevor Ariza vs. Harrison Barnes

A huge problem for the Rockets against Denver was a collective passiveness. The guards didn't want to hog the ball and the shooters didn't want to miss the extra pass. There's a difference between making the extra pass and making the right pass. Houston did the former without achieving the latter against the Nuggets.

The Rockets need to take open shots and only pump fake and drive when the lane is clear. Too many times Houston attacked a loaded paint. That won't work against anyone. And it definitely won't work against the Warriors.

Advantage: Warriors

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Draymond Green

Serious question: are people going to grow tired of Green's brash attitude? As a plucky up-and-coming team you can get away with some attitude and aggressiveness. But when does that tenacity start getting called arrogance? When do players start pushing back? Will the league continue to let Green do whatever he wants on defense if the public sentiment changes?

No matter how you feel, Green is a tough defender who can guard most positions on the court and can be physical with anybody.

Advantage: Warriors

Center: Dwight Howard vs. Andrew Bogut

Dwight didn't score in the Rockets' first game.

Bogut scored in the Warriors' first game.

Advantage: Warriors

Bench

Rockets: Corey Brewer, Patrick Beverley, Clint Capela, Jason Terry, Montrezl Harrell

Warriors: Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Andre Iguodala

Advantage: Warriors

Prediction: Dubs win 140-87. Rockets Nation declares that the Rockets should relocate to Seattle.

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