Rockets vs. Warriors: 5 things to watch as Houston shuts down at home

With the Warriors looking for a win on the road and an end – or just a respite – from their road woes, they head to an arena where they have won in each of their last four road trips and have many celebrated wins over the years. championship.

The Warriors have an 11-game losing streak on the road, no small consideration for a defending champion uncertain of making the playoffs. The Warriors advanced to play-in status in the extremely close contest of the Western Conference. Tied with the Mavericks for sixth, they are seventh and in the play-in position due to the tiebreaker. Of the five remaining games against teams with winning records, four are on the road.

No team with 11 consecutive road losses has made the playoffs since the 2014-15 Milwaukee Bucks. During the streak, their opponents are outscoring the Warriors, 128.3 to 117.7 points per game, and have scored at least 130 points six times.

The Rockets will wrap up a family of six games with a back-to-back. The Rockets are 2-9 in game two when playing on back-to-back nights. The game is the second in a stretch of six games over nine days.

The Rockets have a nine-game losing streak against the Warriors, including three games this season.

Here are five things to look out for in Monday’s Rockets game against the Warriors:

1.3s the thing

The Warriors’ road problems are on the defensive end, and more specifically on the 3-point line defense. They allow the second-most 3-pointers per road game with teams making 41 percent of their 3s, giving the second-worst 3-point field goal defense percentage in road games.

The Rockets’ problem in the matchup is that they don’t rely on 3s or shoot good percentage from the 3-point line, making that shortcoming very difficult to exploit. The Rockets’ 32.8% 3-point shooting is second worst in the NBA.

Worse yet, the Rockets’ weakness aligns defensively with the Warriors’ strength. The Rockets allow 37.3% shooting from the 3-point line, the third-worst 3-point defense percentage in the league. The Warriors are averaging 16.5 from 3-point range, a league-high, with 38.4%, the third-best 3-point percentage in the NBA. They are second in the NBA in scoring.

Despite all the Warriors’ struggles away from the Chase Center, they made 24-of-51 triples in their previous game at the Toyota Center with Klay Thompson (10-for-13) and Stephen Curry (7-for-14) combining to make more than the entire Rockets team (15 of 45).

2. On the guards

In two games against the Warriors this season, Kevin Porter Jr. averaged 25 points on 45.7% shooting. Jalen Green, however, struggled. He is averaging 14.5 points, shooting just 29.4% on just 1-of-13 3s.

The Warriors’ backcourt had no such difficulties. In the Warriors’ previous trip to Houston, Thompson and Curry combined for 74 points, with Curry adding 15 assists.

They each played in two of their first three meetings, combining a combined 73-point average against the Rockets with Thompson hitting 61.9% of his shots, 73.3% of his 3s, and Curry making 51.2% of his attempts, 48.4% from depth.

Curry is just off the pace for his second 50/40/90 season of his career, hitting 49.9% of his shots, 43.5% of his 3s and 91.3% of his free throws. Thompson had two of the first three scoring months of his career in 2023.

3. Alpine Time?

After some hiatus in February, Rockets center Alperen Sengun bounced back in March. Although he isn’t scoring as much as he started the season, he was effective, averaging 14.4 points on 55.8% shooting along with 9.9 rebounds per game in the eight games before playing against the Pelicans on Sunday.

He had 23 double-doubles this season after hitting eight in his rookie season. But Sengun struggled against the Warriors at both ends of the court.

He averaged seven points and 6.7 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game, hitting 40.9% of his shooting, in three games against the Warriors. The Warriors have often put him in positions where he needs to get out of shooters defensively.

Coupled with his increased production this month, he’s made strides defensively in those situations, but the Warriors provide tougher proof of that improvement.

4. Clean the glass

The Rockets don’t just hit the offensive boards, they rely on second-chance scoring. Their 17 second chance points per game lead the NBA. They average 18.3 wins. But the Warriors kept the Rockets from grossing too much on that strength.

The Rockets averaged 13 points from offensive rebounds in the three games against the Warriors, nearly matching the 13.1 allowed by the Warriors per game.

5. Short staffed again?

Porter and Green missed the previous game against the Warriors. Jae’Sean Tate was out for the first two.

All three had played in the Rockets’ five wins in eight games before Sunday’s game against the Pelicans, but it’s Tate who will likely miss the second half of a back-to-back.

He has missed one game in every set of matches on consecutive nights since returning from his ankle injury. His value off the bench was clear, with Tate playing multiple positions in most games, including backup point guard. He started and scored 14 points with four assists in 28½ minutes of the previous game.

The Warriors have been without forward Andrew Wiggins since 14 February due to a family matter. He is averaging 29 points on 62.9% shooting and 66.7% 3-point shooting in his two games against the Rockets this season. Also out Gary Payton II (adductor pain) and Andre Iguodala (left wrist fracture).

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