Rockets at Warriors how to watch: Live stream, TV, matchups, line, odds, picks

It seems like forever ago but the Warriors and Rockets faced off in the Western Conference finals just two seasons ago. So much has changed since then.

The Warriors have added Kevin Durant and made some other significant roster changes. The Rockets hired the offensive-minded Mike D'Antoni to be their head coach and he has shifted James Harden to point guard, which has resulted in Houston having one of the top offenses in the league. Golden State, record-wise, is still the superior team. But the Rockets could give the Warriors a run for their money, which makes Thursday's matchup must-see TV.

How to watch

When: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET

Who: Houston Rockets

Where: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California


Streaming: Watch TNT app, Sling, Playstation Vue

Line: Warriors (-10)

What to watch for

A high-scoring affair: If you enjoy high-scoring games, this is the game for you. Golden State has the best offense in the league and is scoring 114.6 points per 100 possessions. The Rockets trail the Warriors ever so slightly, scoring 110 points per 100 possessions, which is the fourth-best offense in the league. Houston leads the league in 3-pointers attempted and made, so expect the Rockets to bomb away from deep with reckless abandon.

The offensive brilliance of James Harden: With Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors have the best offense in the league and Golden State's ball movement is just sublime. However as great as the Warriors are offensively, the James Harden show is almost up to to par.

Thriving under D'Antoni, Harden has been absolutely brilliant this season and is yet again an MVP candidate. Harden is leading the league in assists (11.9) and is fourth in scoring, averaging 28.7 points. He can quite literally do anything he wants on the offensive end. Plus the Rockets have assembled the perfect players to go alongside Harden with Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Clint Capela. Anderson and Gordon spread the floor with their 3-point shooting and Capela sets excellent screens for Harden and is often on the receiving end of lobs from the Rockets All-Star guard.

Golden State's defense is getting better each game and Klay Thompson will likely be matched up against Harden, so the Rockets could have some difficulty. But with the way Harden has been playing this season, the Warriors could have their hands full all game.

Durantula: While Harden could be a problem for the Warriors, Durant will be the same for the Rockets. Durant has been the main star on Golden State in its recent stretch and was awarded Western Conference Player of the Week honors for his excellent play. He will look to continue to lead the Warriors against the Rockets, a team that he has torched in the past.

When Durant played with the Thunder, he averaged 29.5 points while shooting 49.5 percent against the Rockets. To make matters worse for Houston, Durant is now playing in a more free-flowing offense with Golden State and the Rockets have the fourth-worst defense in the league. Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer will try to slow down Durant but that might not even be remotely possible. Especially with the way Durant has been playing as of late.

Key matchups

Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Harden probably won't be matched up against Thompson on defense but when Houston is on offense, they will more than likely face each other. Thompson is one of the best two-way players in the league and takes pride on the defensive end. He will be tasked with trying to slow down Harden, which in turn will cause Houston's offense to sputter. Harden is a wizard on offense though and seems to always figure things out. But if the Warriors want to extend their win streak to a league-high 13 games, they will need Thompson to make life difficult for Harden.

Clint Capela vs. Zaza Pachulia/Draymond Green/Durant: Houston loves to shoot the three-ball but with Golden State lacking a true rim protector, they could look to attack the Warriors inside by featuring Capela. Harden and Capela have quickly developed a nice pick-and-roll game, adding yet another element to Houston's dynamic offense. Capela will likely burn Pachulia all game, so Green or perhaps even Durant could quickly switch on the Rockets big man to try and limit Houston's alley-oop attack.

PICK: Warriors (-10) seems like a pretty safe bet. Golden State has won 12 straight and will be playing at home, where it has only lost once all season. The Rockets are 7-5 on the road and just got smacked by the Jazz in Utah, losing by 19 points Tuesday. Houston should give Golden State a notable fight but the Warriors may be too deep and too talented for the Rockets.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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