The Golden State Warriors will seek some revenge on the Houston Rockets Friday night when the two teams clash at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Rockets have won both of this season's meetings with the Warriors and the first time, the Rockets equaled an NBA record. On Feb. 5, Houston tied the record for most 3-pointers made with 23 en route to a 140-109 rout.
The Warriors took exception to the Rockets trying for the record, so they began to foul and a minor skirmish broke out. One week later, the Rockets went into Oracle Arena and bested the Warriors, 116-107.
As if the Warriors didn't need any more fuel on their fire, the Rockets have crept within two games of Golden State for the sixth seed in the West.
The Warriors, who will wear their short-sleeved jerseys for a second time Friday, slid down the standings with a four-game losing trip during a recent swing, but have won two in a row once they got back home. They beat the Toronto Raptors 125-118 on Monday, then dispatched the Sacramento Kings 87-83 on Wednesday.
"We're not playing our best basketball right now," admitted head coach Mark Jackson. "We certainly were better earlier in the year. That being said, we're finding ways to win ball games, even when we're not playing at our best."
Against the Kings, Klay Thompson buried the go-ahead 3-pointer to ice the victory. He had a team-high 20 points and David Lee notched his NBA-best 41st double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Harrison Barnes (14), Steph Curry (13) and Jarrett Jack (12) also scored in double digits.
The Rockets saw their two-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday when they fell to the Dallas Mavericks 112-108 in Big D.
James Harden paced the Rockets as always with 28 points. Chandler Parsons continued his strong run of late with 23 points and Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and Carlos Delfino all cracked the 10-point mark. Asik, who is second in the NBA in rebounding, had 15 boards.
The Rockets have moved into the seventh seed in the Western Conference and they do it with offense. They lead the NBA in scoring at 107.0 ppg, but rank 29th in opponents' scoring at 103.8 ppg.
Head coach Kevin McHale said at practice on Thursday that defense will be a key in knocking off the Warriors.
"We just can't give up layups and easy baskets in transition," McHale said. "(The Warriors) are going to run and they're going to push; we've just got to get back. The rules on cross-matching haven't changed in the NBA in a long time: guard the guys who's guarding you until you can get back."
The Rockets have won 16 of the last 18 encounters between the two teams, but Golden State's two wins during that span came at home.