The Houston Rockets entered Friday night’s game with the hopes of avoiding a 3-game losing streak, while the Golden State Warriors were riding the momentum from an improbable comeback win against the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night. With looming echo’s of last season’s record breaking performance hovering over the Toyota Center, I was able to catch up with Chandler Parsons before the game to find out how Houston is staying focused despite several key injuries.
DV: There has to be a lot of talk about the 3-point record the Rockets tied last year against Golden State every time both your teams meet. How do you and the guys stay focused when playing against the Warriors?
CP: The Warriors are a great team and always fun to play. Last season is over with and we don’t focus on that. We play our game, continue to play at a fast pace, and following personnel is huge against them. Have to know where the shooters are at all times and keep running in transition.
DV: Do you feel there is a growing rivalry between the Rockets and Warriors beyond what happened with the 3-point record from last year?
CP: They are definitely not happy about it, but I don’t think so. It’s always intense and physical when we play them. We are both battling for a high seed in the Western Playoffs so we fully expect it to be a war and we definitely don’t like each other.
DV: I know you’ve been struggling with some back spasms, but you’ve managed to still put on a few big performances. How have you been able to manage the pain and still perform at such a high level?
CP: I’ve been doing tons of rehab every single day trying to get as healthy as possible. I’m a competitor and once the game starts all I care about is winning and adrenaline kicks in and the pain goes away. Just have to be smart about it as it’s early and still 63 games to go.
Well, following two sub-par performances, it was evident that Parsons and the rest of the Rockets had no intentions on losing a third straight game; especially not to another contender in the West.
Despite the pain, Number 25 was in the starting line-up and started the game right where he left off. He nailed his first shot attempt from deep to put his team up 3–2 and the Rockets never looked back, coasting to a 105 – 83 win at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Chandler Parsons would go on to score 8 points while leading the team in assists with 5. Dwight Howard would close the half with his 12th double-double of the year and go on to record 22 points and 18 rebounds while James Harden bounced back from a dismal shooting performance against Phoenix to score 34 points on 13 for 22 shooting. Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes led the Warriors with 22 and 14 respectively but Golden State certainly didn’t play like they had something to prove. Maybe Parsons was right and the rivalry between the two teams doesn’t extend beyond last year’s events.
Regardless, both teams seem destined for the Playoffs and will battle two more times this regular season including one at Oracle Arena on December 13th.