The NBA returns Thursday night after its week-long absence for the All-Star break, and what an eventful All-Star weekend the players gave fans. It had it all. Golden State returns to play with four straight home games. In their first matchup Thursday Night on NBA on TNT, the Rockets make their way to the bay for a showdown.
Houston, led by their two All-Star guards, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, head into play in fifth place in the Western Conference, 34-20 overall. The Rockets are 6-4 in their last 10 games and lost two of their last three heading into the break.
Golden State remains the worst team in the NBA. Twelve wins on the season, 30th of the 30 NBA teams. On the bright side, they recently dealt D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s return in the near future, Wiggins seems to fit in the mix better than another point guard.
Golden State may be having a down year, but in this case, the rich get richer. They collect a few higher draft picks and have Wiggins, one of the NBA’s most improved players, to throw in the mix with Curry, Green, and Thompson next season.
Westbrook and Harden take on a huge part of the scoring load for Houston. With their recent decision to go smaller, look for Westbrook and Harden to dish to their floor spreaders and get them going out of the break. One their shooters, Eric Gordon, was nursing a leg injury headed into the break, his status is unknown for Thursday’s game.
Look for Golden State to put the ball in the hands of its best scorers, in an attempt to catch Houston sleeping coming out of the All-Star break. Wiggins, Green, and Alec Burks will carry much of the offensive and defensive loads. The Warriors offense and defense are currently ranked 24th and 26th, respectively.
Golden State is only 7-19 at home this season. One of the league’s most dangerous home-court advantages has become one of the worst. Houston, while only 15-12 on the road this season, is the much better team here.
We will have to wait for the 10:30 pm ET tip-off on Thursday to find out who is ready to go, post-break. See you all Thursday night.