Unbeaten Rockets, Warriors clash in Space City

(SportsNetwork.com) – Something’s got to give Saturday night when two
undefeated teams, the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, face off at
the Toyota Center.

The last time the Rockets started 6-0 was the 1996-97 season. The last time
they began 7-0 was the 1994-95 campaign and all the Rockets did that season
was win the NBA title.

The 1994-95 season was also the last time the Warriors reached 5-0. Golden
State kicked off this campaign 4-0 for only the fourth time in franchise
history.

This marquee matchup features two of three teams in the NBA that are in the
top 10 in both scoring and opponents’ scoring. (Chicago is also in that
exclusive company.)

The Warriors lead the NBA in scoring at 109.5 ppg, while the Rockets are fifth
at 104.3 ppg. Houston, somewhat surprisingly, are second defensively at 89.7
ppg and Golden State is fifth at 93.8 ppg.

For the Rockets, this has been an amazing start, but one tainted a bit by the
strength of schedule. Houston’s victories have come against the Los Angeles
Lakers, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and San
Antonio Spurs. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich rested future Hall of Famers
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.

“Our next few games, we’re going to be tested defensively, but we’re looking
forward to those tests,” said coach Kevin McHale.

The Rockets thumped the Spurs Thursday night Houston, 98-81, in a game that
wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

Dwight Howard had a field day with Tim Duncan sidelined, totaling 32 points
and 16 rebounds. Howard shot 12-of-18 from the field and 8-of-13 from the foul
line for a Houston squad that has won all six of its games by double digits.
The only other team to accomplish that feat was the 1985-86 Nuggets.

“It really didn’t matter who they had on the floor. It’s my job to go out
there and set the intensity,” Howard said.

James Harden contributed 20 points, six boards and six assists, and Jason
Terry added 16 points off the bench in the rout.

The Warriors remained perfect on the season with a 121-104 rout of the Los
Angeles Clippers Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.

Stephen Curry had 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead Golden
State.

Draymond Green posted 24 points, eight boards and five assists, while the
reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, Klay Thompson, netted 19
points for the Warriors, who shot an NBA season-high 58.1 percent (43-of-74)
from the floor.

“I liked the ball movement … I feel like we can get a lot better,” Warriors
coach Steve Kerr said.

David Lee made his season debut after a hamstring injury, but his return was
brief. He aggravated the injury and left after less than six minutes. Lee
won’t make the road trip with the team, which ends Saturday in Phoenix against
the Suns.

These teams have had some history in recent seasons, including a little
skirmish two seasons ago when the Rockets were trying to set an NBA record for
most 3-pointers made in a game.

The Rockets took two of three against the Warriors last season and are 10-3
in the last 13 versus Golden State. Houston has won 10 of the last 11 as the
host in this series.