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Rockets vs. Warriors Game 3 preview: Can Harden and Co. bring energy to their battered city?

The series feels over already, but the Rockets will try to salvage some pride at home.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a rough stretch for Houston.

Many of its streets have been flooded. Eight people have died so far in the flood, and thousands more have lost their homes. Water levels are still elevated and there are dams that could burst. If you or your family has been affected, our thoughts are with you. If you are more fortunate, consider donating to the American Red Cross to help those in need. Follow Les Alexander's lead.

Complaining about basketball seems small and pointless at a time like this. I've taken some criticism for my largely negative tone over the past few weeks — and really for the whole season — but hopefully this season will come to a dignified end and we can all start the offseason with renewed optimism. It's been hard to find anything good to say about the Rockets for months.

Hopefully tonight can be one of those things. The Rockets lost by 35 points in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, but that was after giving the Warriors all they could handle in two games in Oakland. In Game 4, the Rockets won their only game against Golden State in the Kerr/Walton era.

Stephen Curry remains questionable for tonight's game, but his absence means a starting lineup for Golden State where every player is 6-7 or taller, meaning the Rockets can't find a place where Patrick Beverley can't be taken into the post and abused (more often than not. He is scrappy).

It's pointless to expect J.B. Bickerstaff to make any rational decisions about who plays and who sits, but if he were smart he'd start James Harden, K.J. McDaniels, Trevor Ariza, Donatas Motiejunas and Dwight Howard. It would take away Beverley's ball-handling, and could be an offensive disaster, but it at least will do more defensively to stem the tide of Golden State. I guess I would even try Corey Brewer in there over K.J., because J.B. obviously isn't listening to us about that argument.

I don't expect Houston to win tonight — I expect Curry to play, too — but man, I'm going to be rooting for them. We could use a win.

Tip is at 8:30 p.m. CT on TNT

Golden State Of Mind