Programming note: Warriors Pregame Live begins at 4:30 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, followed by Warriors basketball at 5:00!
Not since 2006-07 have the Golden State Warriors logged a pair of five-game winning streaks in the same season, but Tuesday night's game at Houston represents an opportunity to pull it off this season before the All-Star break.
To do so would require ending an eight-game road skid against the Rockets that dates back to Dec. 31, 2007.
The Warriors will have center Andrew Bogut in the lineup, according to Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group. Coach Mark Jackson has said the big man won't play in back-to-backs -- at least until after the All-Star break -- and with a game at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Jackson had a decision to make.
Bogut said he'll stay patient.
“We get the All-Star break and start playing back-to-back, so I may be getting a little more minutes," he said. "I’ve just got to be more patient with it and help get us into the playoffs and go from there. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Tuesday's opener of a road trip which includes four games in five nights will be the first of four meetings between Houston (26-23, No. 8 in Western Conference) and Golden State (30-17, No. 5 in Western Conference) this season. The Warriors wrap up the trip at Dallas on Saturday and will host Houston Feb. 12 in their final game before a week off for the All-Star break.
Bogut will likely play against Memphis on Friday and sit against Dallas, Thompson reported.
With three four-game winning streaks already this season, the Warriors have two more than they combined for over the past four seasons. Before 2006-07, the team hadn't had a pair of five-game winning streaks in the same season since 1993-94, when it had three.
The key? Being able to close out close games.
"I know it’s a sermon we have been preaching all year long, but it’s the truth. You don’t stumble into wins," Jackson said. "This is a team that is together. We understand that we are a very good team and we understand what we have to do to continue to win.”
Houston, which has won five of its last seven, has won 14 of the past 16 against Golden State, but with both teams featuring significantly different rosters this year, there's little to draw from the recent history.
James Harden (25.8 ppg) has been exactly what he was billed as since coming over from Oklahoma City in a trade days before the season began: a scorer. He's been held under 20 points just twice in the last 30 games working in tandem with fellow newcomer, and former Warriors guard, Jeremy Lin.
Lin was supposedly a game-time decision after suffering a minor ankle injury during Monday's practice, but told CSNHouston.com he will play. The Palo Alto High graduate's numbers are slightly down from last season when "Linsanity" struck the nation, but he's still averaging 12.2 points and 6.1 assists per game.
If he does play, Lin will likely spend a significant amount of time working against former teammate Stephen Curry. Lin, Curry and Warriors forward David Lee had dinner together Monday night, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Leaving the confines of Oracle Arena hasn't been much of a detriment to the Warriors to this point. The team ranks tied for third in the NBA with 14 road wins -- only San Antonio (16) and Oklahoma City (15) have more -- and is one of nine teams in the NBA with a winning record (14-11) on the road. The Warriors have finished at least .500 on every multiple-game road trip this season.
A win would take Golden State to a season-best 14 games over .500 and mark the first time since the final game of the 2007-2008 season the team was that many games above .500.