Thursday night’s first-round playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets isn’t an official elimination game, but Houston is in a virtual “must-win” situation. Falling behind 2-0 in the series, Houston will try to pull off the upset in Game 3 as they play at home for the first time this postseason.
The biggest question surrounds the health of Stephen Curry, and even hours before tip off, it’s unknown if the MVP will suit up. He missed Game 2 because of an ankle injury, and he told reporters on Wednesday that he would have probably missed Game 3 if it was played one night earlier.
"It's better than Game 2," Curry said. "I'm definitely encouraged that it's better. And as long as it's continuing to get better, then I think we're in good shape. How quickly that happens, I don't know."
Decision on Steph Curry for Game 3 could come within next hour or 3. Made it thru shootaround in good shape.
— Monte Poole (@MontePooleCSN) April 21, 2016
Curry’s health, however, might not affect Houston’s chances much. After getting blown out in the series opener, the Rockets lost to the Warriors by nine points. It was the second time this season that Houston had been defeated by Golden State without their star player.
James Harden hasn’t been the player that Houston’s needed him to be, averaging 22.5 points per game on 36.8 percent shooting from the field. Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double, though he believes he hasn’t been getting the benefit of some calls like the Warriors have.
"Sometimes we get caught up in not getting the call, upset that they miss certain plays that we don't concentrate on the next play, so we have to keep moving forward, understanding that they won the championship," Howard told reporters. "In order to beat them, you have to play better than them because you're not going to get any calls.
"It's just like a boxing match. If you want to beat the champ, you have to knock them out. If you expect to win a decision, it's going to be hard. So you have to knock them out."
Draymond Green denied the notion that he sets illegal screens, arguing that Golden State just has better shooters that take advantage of their physical style of play. The Warriors have hit 18 of their 48 three-point attempts this series, while Houston is 14-of-45 from beyond the arc.
Klay Thompson was held to just 11 points against the Rockets in a game at the start of the season, but since then, he’s taken advantage of Harden’s poor defense. He scored 38 points against the Rockets in a win on New Year’s Eve, and he put up 34 points on 20 shot attempts on Monday.
Start Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Online Stream: WatchTNT
Betting Odds: Golden State-5.5, 215