The Golden State Warriors will attempt to put the sting of a game-losing, four-point play behind them when they resurface on their home court 24 hours later to play the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
Both teams will be playing the second night of a back-to-back, with each having fallen short in the first game.
Golden State blew a late three-point lead and fell victim to Bradley Beal’s four-point heroics with about six seconds left in a 110-107 home loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Houston outscored the Clippers by 10 points in the first and third quarters but couldn’t overcome a 10-point second period in a 126-109 defeat.
Saturday’s game is a rematch of a 108-94 Warriors win at Houston on March 17, but that was when the Rockets were without John Wall, Victor Oladipo and David Wood.
Houston since has traded Oladipo but is expected to have Wall and Wood available to face Golden State this time.
Wall was rested Friday and likely will tag-team the remainder of the season with fellow veteran Avery Bradley, who put in 26 minutes against the Clippers but is expected to sit out the second night of a back-to-back.
Wall returned from a four-game absence due to a sore knee to scorch Dallas for 31 points in a 102-93 home win on Wednesday.
The five-time All-Star hasn’t faced the Warriors since October of 2018 while with Washington.
Wall, who has played in just 33 of Houston’s 52 games this season, assured earlier in the week that he’s not throwing in the towel despite an assortment of injuries lately.
“Yeah, I’ve been banged up, but whenever I can be out here and compete with my guys, that’s what I want to do,” he said. “A lot of people thought that I was going to sit the rest of the season out because we don’t have a chance to make the playoffs, but I love the game too much. I’ve been out for two years. I love the city I’m playing for, and I love the group of guys I’ve got as my brothers. I’m gonna continue to fight until the wheels fall off.”
While the wheels have come off the Rockets’ chase for a playoff berth this season, they’ve remained attached, yet wobbly, for the Warriors, who have lost eight of their past 10.
None hurt more than Friday’s narrow home defeat to the Wizards, who turned an offensive rebound into Beal’s go-ahead four-point play in the final seconds, denying Golden State what would have been a second straight win.
“We’re all going to lose sleep,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the loss. “It feels like there are four or five games out there that we could have or should have won. But there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. We’ve got 20 games to go, and we have to pick ourselves up and come right back (Saturday) night.”
Although the Warriors are staggering, rookie big man James Wiseman has played his best ball of the season lately. He followed a double-double in a win over Milwaukee on Tuesday with 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field in the loss to the Wizards.
–Field Level Media