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Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson Lead Warriors to Win over Rockets

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 4: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball against the Houston Rockets on January 4, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Kevin Durant and James Harden were both sidelined, but the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets still showcased plenty of firepower in a potential Western Conference Finals preview on Thursday night. 

Led by Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, the Warriors put on a dynamic offensive display and downed the Rockets 124-114 at Toyota Center in Houston. 

It was a vintage Splash Brothers performance from Curry and Thompson, who shredded the Rockets from beyond the arc with Durant out because of a right calf strain. 

Thompson was especially prolific and lit it up by scoring 28 points, including a clutch triple with 5:32 remaining in regulation to put the Warriors up by 10: 

NBA on TNT @NBAonTNT

.@KlayThompson has been unconscious from 👌 land as he hits his 6th of the game! Stick with us on #TNT for the finish! https://t.co/3RaHB2J7B2

Golden State's sniper drilled six of his 10 three-point attempts overall, and as FiveThirtyEight's Chris Herring observed, he was generally free to fire away with the Rockets shading toward Curry: 

Chris Herring @Herring_NBA

This whole Leave Klay Open strategy is an interesting one.

Curry, who has been in a zone since returning from a sprained ankle on Dec. 30, added a team-high 29 points (10-of-20 shooting), nine rebounds and five assists. 

StatMuse broke down Curry's prolific stylings over the past three games: 

StatMuse @statmuse

Steph Curry since being back from injury 3 games 99 points 60.7% shooting 20/36 on threes https://t.co/kRdVYouXQL

Draymond Green, meanwhile, triple-doubled with 17 points, 14 boards and 10 assists in what turned out to be a historic outing: 

Warriors PR @WarriorsPR

Draymond Green is now the Warriors' franchise leader in triple-doubles with 21 (two this season), passing Tom Gola (20). Green finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds & 10 assists.

The Rockets put forth a valiant effort trying to keep pace with the Warriors and did so by attempting 50 threes. The only problem was, they only converted those looks at a 34 percent clip with the league's leading scorer sidelined. 

However, Houston did have one scalding shooter from deep on Thursday in the form of Gerald Green—who was home on the couch watching the NBA on TNT two weeks ago.

In 34 minutes, Green lit the nationally televised stage on fire by scoring 29 points on 9-of-16 shooting (8-of-15 from three) off the bench. 

That eruption naturally caused observers on Twitter to have a moment: 

MarkJonesESPN @MarkJonesESPN

So was Gerald Green just killin dudes in that lunchtime run at LA Fitness before signing with @HoustonRockets ?

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Ask teams the one position they wish they had depth at and the answer would be at the wing. Gerald Green was sitting at home, looking for another opportunity. Looks like he’s found one.

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

It's a treat to watch some of the best shooters in NBA history like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Gerald Green.

Josh Eberley 🇨🇦 @JoshEberley

Gerald Green was unemployed too long.

"Thank goodness we got him," head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the loss, according to ClutchFans. "He's not been just good. He's been really good."

Incidentally, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly after the final buzzer that the Rockets plan to guarantee Green's contract for the rest of the season. 

That should be music to the ears of Harden, Chris Paul (28 points) and Eric Gordon (30 points), who now have a microwave scorer in tow who should help in Houston's ongoing arms race with the Warriors. 

The Rockets will hope Green can keep things churning Saturday when they host the Detroit Pistons

The Warriors will also be back in action Saturday for a Pacific Division tilt against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. 

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