^
Keep Houston Press Free
4
| Sports |

Rockets-Warriors Not the Christmas Matchup the NBA Wanted

James Harden and the Rockets head to Golden State for a Christmas Day game that is a little below expectation.
James Harden and the Rockets head to Golden State for a Christmas Day game that is a little below expectation.
Photo by Eric Sauseda

In a recent interview with Warriors stalwart forward Draymond Green, he was asked what he would tell his young teammates about playing the Rockets on Christmas Day. He responded, "They let us keep the ABC game?"

It's a legitimate question as the Warriors sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, the victim of multiple injuries and the defection of Kevin Durant to the East Coast. With so many years of excellence, it was bound to happen that Golden State took a tumble, but few could have imagined it would be this fast or this far.

And the Association probably didn't hesitate scheduling the Rockets and Warriors for Christmas Day, the league's unofficial first day of the season when they don't have to compete with anything but family gatherings, which often tune in for the entire day and slate of games. Even without Klay Thompson, it was thought Golden State would still be one of the better Western Conference teams. Ditto the Rockets.

One of those Christmas wishes came true.

The Warriors, missing Steph Curry, Thompson and Green for much of the early part of the season, sit at the literal bottom of the conference at 7-24. (Assuming they hold out Curry and Thompson for a year of "rest" they could wind up with the top pick in the draft, a scary proposition for the West, but that's for later.)

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

On the other hand, the Rockets have...ahem...rocketed into third place in the West at 21-9, just a half game behind the Nuggets and three games back of the Lakers thanks to four straight wins on a West Coast road swing that included a huge comeback win against the Clippers.

Some of the battles between the Warriors and Rockets over the last five years have been epic, even if Golden State has come out in the W column more frequently than not. They have constituted the greatest roadblock to the Rockets' title aspirations (well, that and a pulled Chris Paul hamstring), as well as the desires of nearly every other team in the NBA.

But, no one has been quite as vexed by Curry, Thompson, Green and Durant as the team in Houston. Wednesday's Christmas Day game won't exactly be the equivalent of sweet revenge. That would only come in the playoffs and against a team that resembled something more than a shadow of its former self.

Still, a game is a game and when it is a national TV slot on the busiest day of the league's season, it's special, even if Draymond Green can't figure out why he or the Warriors are playing.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.