Plus, there’s the Max Pacioretty case. With a year left on his deal, he could either bring a large haul in a trade or provide top-tier goal scoring for the future if he were to re-sign. The Canadiens also currently have five picks in the first two rounds of the draft.
The Rockets took a seven-point lead into halftime. Stephen Curry turned in a poor first half, going 2 of 11. He finished with 19 points, the lowest since he came back from an ankle injury that kept him out for about a month earlier this season. The win was mostly earned down low, with the Rockets outrebounding the Warriors 46 to 33. The Warriors were also forced into 19 turnovers, with Curry committing six of them.
Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green missed the game for the Rockets. They are serving two-game suspensions for the Rockets’ locker room incident after a game against the Clippers.
Mason made his first appearance since Jan. 9th, when he was sidelined with a concussion. The veteran will play important minutes down the stretch as Winnipeg looks to lighten Connor Hellebuyck’s workload before the playoffs. The franchise hopes to win a playoff series for the first time in its history.
Winnipeg teammates Mark Schiefele and Blake Wheeler collided in the first period. Schiefele initially returned to action but was later ruled out for the game with an upper-body injury. His last shift ended with 3:58 remaining in the second period.
Now, can they beat them in a seven-game series? Maybe not, but the Rockets certainly have all of the tools to compete with the defending champs in a potential Western Conference finals.
“We can play a little bit,” Chris Paul told ESPN following the game. “It’s not anything big or anything like that, I mean, it’s January for god sakes, you know what I mean? So, thank God we came out healthy.”
The only question health-wise for the Rockets was James Harden who is just two games removed from missing seven games with a leg injury. The MVP candidate is on a minutes restriction for Houston, but as the clock wound down Saturday, Harden was still on the court, and for good reason. He hit the 3-pointer that put Houston up two possessions late in the game.