(SportsNetwork.com) - The Golden State Warriors will try to pad their franchise-best 13-game winning streak on Wednesday, but will face a tall order in the form of the visiting Houston Rockets.
The Warriors have vaulted atop the standings in the NBA, but the Rockets aren't far off. They share the second-fewest losses and may have as good a chance as anyone in slowing down the Warriors.
Houston is second in the NBA in opponents' scoring, which should help against the league's fourth-best offense. Of course, you don't get to be 18-2 without playing some defense and the Warriors rank sixth in opponents' scoring.
These two teams met in one of the biggest matchups of the early season. Both were undefeated when Golden State toppled the Rockets, 98-87, in Houston on Nov. 8.
Steph Curry went off for 34 that night, but the Rockets didn't have All- Defensive Second-Team member Patrick Beverley. The Rockets also didn't have Dwight Howard, a former Defensive Player of the Year, but he isn't expected back from a knee injury on Wednesday.
The Warriors haven't lost since a home setback to the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 11. Since, Golden State has taken five in a row at Oracle Arena, but it just returned from a perfect road trip.
The Warriors went 2-0 over the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. Golden State knocked off the Bulls by 10 at the United Center, then dispatched the Timberwolves by 16 on Monday night.
Curry and Klay Thompson each scored 21 points to help the Warriors extend their winning streak. They stretched their road winning streak to eight games, which is also the best in team history.
"Tonight was not our best ever, the second half was good," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It's good to pile up as many road wins as possible because it's going to get tougher as we go."
Shaun Livingston and Marreese Speights both netted 12 points and Draymond Green added 10 points with 10 rebounds in the win.
Warriors center Andrew Bogut left the game after just two minutes in with right knee irritation. Neither Bogut, nor Kerr seemed terribly concerned about the injury after the game, so Bogut could be in the lineup against the Rockets.
Houston has endured a horrid season with injuries and it seems like Howard and starting forward Terrence Jones will both be out for a while. All-Star guard James Harden has back spasms and is questionable.
The Rockets have had four days off to get healthy. Their last game was a 100-95 home win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, their fourth consecutive victory.
Beverley returned from a hamstring injury to give the Rockets a big lift, scoring 19 points. Beverley, who had missed Houston's last five games, knocked down 5-of-8 attempts from 3-point range and added six rebounds off the bench.
"We don't win that game unless Pat plays," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale stated.
Trevor Ariza also had 19 points in a game the Rockets led from start-to-finish en route to their seventh win in eight outings. Harden offset a 5-of-21 shooting night by posting 12 rebounds and seven assists. He finished with 15 points, while Donatas Motiejunas had 16 along with 11 rebounds.
Harden is second in the NBA with 25.2 ppg.
These two teams, who have had some testy moments in recent seasons, have split the last six meetings, but Golden State prevailed in the last two. The Rockets are 3-1 in their last four in Oakland.