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Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors game preview

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Before we begin, I’d like to wish everyone a happy holidays and a Merry Christmas.

The new-look Houston Rockets take on the defending Western Conference champions tonight at the newly opened Chase Center in a marquee Christmas Day matchup between two of the premier rivals of the NBA.

Or at least, that’s how the league expected to bill this matchup when they settled on it during the summer. Unfortunately, the Warriors lost two of their All-Stars to injuries and only have two All-Stars healthy for this one. D’Angelo Russell came over to great fanfare, but he isn’t an offense unto himself and Draymond Green needs threats out of the pick-and-roll to be effective and the Warriors just don’t have that right now.

The Warriors do not have a win over a team with a record above .500, but they are riding a two-game winning streak for the first time this season. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the schadenfreude hasn’t been strong this season when I watch Golden State, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that if James Harden ever gets hurt for an extended period of time, Houston would struggle to make the playoffs even with Russell Westbrook’s recent surge. The Dubs will be excited to play spoiler against a former nemesis on national television.

The Rockets will be closing out their four-game road trip tonight. When it began, Houston’s expected record was 3-1, but now the Rockets have a chance to sweep the road trip if they can ruin the Warriors’ Christmas. It would be embarrassing for the Rockets to lose in front of the world to this team, but the Rockets have shown a penchant for inconsistency. And Christmas miracles have been known to happen.

Tip-off is at 4pm CT on ABC