Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors: Player to watch
Everything starts and ends with Stephen Curry for the Warriors on offense. Somewhat obscured by the Warriors’ dismal start to the season has been one of the best stretches of Curry’s career. He is averaging 32.2 points per game on 52.8% shooting while taking over half of his shots from three. His shooting line of 63.7% on 2-pointers, 44.3% on 3-pointers, and 90.9% on free throws has him fourth in true shooting percentage.
His blend of shooting volume and efficiency is utterly insane, and it has led to a nearly identical offensive box plus/minus to his unanimous MVP season in 2015-16. Such is Curry’s talent, the Warriors essentially exist as two teams. With Curry on the court, they’re one of the best teams in the league, posting a net rating of +7.00 and an offensive rating of 120.28. When he sits, the Warriors’ net rating crumbles to -13.46, and their offense implodes to 101.56.
How the Rockets handle Curry will decide how they fare against the Curry-feast-or-famine Warriors. If they can hold him to just plain superstar levels of scoring and not the supernova performances he has managed this season, then they have a chance to steal the game.
In games where Curry has produced an offensive rating of 136 or better, the Warriors are 4-2 (which is pitiful considering his usage), and when he is at 135 or under, they’re 3-7. The Warriors may not play a heliocentric style of basketball, but they are very much a heliocentric offense built around Curry’s game-breaking skills.