Rockets-Warriors: What to watch for

February 12, 2012, 5:25 pm
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The Warriors are coming off a nice road win against Denveron Thursday and now they will try to build on it with three home games,including a back-to-back set against Houston and Phoenix.The Rockets, under new coach Kevin McHale, have battled backafter a tough start and are now 16-11.They dont have any stars, per se, but they have solidstarters and a deep bench. Here are some things to watch for during theRockets-Warriors game Sunday night at Oracle:Keep Houston off the line: In the teamsfour games last season, the Rockets shot 172 free throws, which averages to 43free throws per game. Simply put, the Warriors have to do a better job againstKevin Martin, who took 51 free throws in four games, and Luis Scola, who took41 free throws in four games.
Martin is one of the best in the league at drawing contact,and Scola over the years has outworked the Warriors on theinterior.Curry vs. Lowry: Warriors point guardStephen Curry is coming off his best game of the season against the Nuggets.Curry had 36 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.Kyle Lowry has had his best season as a professional forHouston, averaging 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. The onearea where Lowry has struggled has been with field goal percentage. Hesshooting just 40.5 percent from the floor, and the Warriors best chance forsuccess Sunday would be to make Lowry a volume shooter.Rebound better: The Warriors have been aninconsistent rebounding team all season, which has a lot to do with theup-and-down play of center Andris Biedrins.When Biedrins is engaged and rebounding, the Warriors are abetter team. When hes not, Golden State tends to lose the rebounding game.With Samuel Dalembert, Scola, Chandler Parsons and Jordan Hill, the Rocketsarent afraid to bang on the interior.The Warriors will need to match Houstons size andphysicality.Keep making 3s: The Warriors have turnedinto one of the leagues best 3-point shooting teams, ranking third in thatcategory. Theyve got all kinds of threats from beyond the arc, includingCurry, Dorell Wright, Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson.When the Warriors are knocking down their 3s like they didagainst Denver (13-of-25) theyre a much more difficult team tobeat.