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Rockets Can Make Their Own Statement Wednesday Night

Rockets can send a message of their own by going 4-0 against the Warriors in the regular season

March 12, 2019 - 11:40 am

By Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane)

March is a rough time on the NBA schedule. As teams approach the 70-game point, there is still a month left before the start of the playoffs, when games actually matter. Players are tired, good teams are bored, and bad teams are ready for it to all be over. It's the dog days, but for a few hours Wednesday night it will all matter, at least a little bit.

The Rockets will take on the Golden State Warriors for the final time in the regular season, and while the Rockets will enter the game having won nine straight, the Warriors will take the floor at Toyota Center looking to reclaim their swagger.

“The beauty of the NBA is that on Wednesday we have an opportunity to send a statement,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry told ESPN Sunday after a 115-111 loss to the lowly Phoenix Suns. “We have to take advantage of that opportunity. We’re looking forward to it, no question.” 

“They should’ve probably said it before (the Suns game) they lost,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni joked after his team beat the Charlotte Hornets Monday night. “I’m sure Steve Kerr is probably going ‘It would’ve been nice if y’all would’ve said it before and made a statement.”

Despite a 4-5 record since the All Star Break, Curry’s team is the league’s two-time defending champions and remains the odds on favorite to hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy again this June, though, this season has been an odd one. Yes, the Warriors have looked dominant at times, but in between those peaks there have been valleys filled with drama and uneven play. Still, it was surprising to hear Curry Wednesday battle on such a high pedestal. 

"Maybe they're in that situation where they need to (call it a statement game) to prove themselves that they are at that level," Rockets center Clint Capela said. 

The Rockets have won all three meetings between the two teams this season. Curry missed the Rockets blowout win at Toyota Center November 15, but Chris Paul and Eric Gordon missed the Rockets win at Oracle Arena in January, while James Harden sat out the rematch last month. Needless to say, Capela doesn’t believe Wednesday’s season-series finale is a statement game for his team. 

"Maybe for them, but for us the last game is to build for the playoffs so we want to keep our defense consistent and get better."

When asked if he thought it meant something if his team swept the four regular season matchups with the Warriors, Capela said it just means the Rockets are “on the right track”, but Gordon said he believes it would matter going forward.

"It has too,” he said. “Cause it seems like we've been the only team for the past year that gives them any problems. I think we match up well with them, so I know it's gonna be another game, but it will be a really gone one before the season ends."

Including the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets are 8-5 against the Warriors the last two seasons.  They believe they are good enough to end their four-year reign in the Western Conference, and while Curry and the Warriors hope Wednesday night serves as a reminder to the rest of the NBA that they are still the league’s dominant team, the Rockets can make a statement of their own. If they can beat a now desperate Golden State team for a fourth time the Rockets could enhance their claim as equals to the Warriors, and maybe sow some doubt into the minds of the champs.