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- The Warriors will begin a stretch of four games in four different cities over five nights with Tuesday’s contest against the Rockets. Golden State’s trip begins with three matchups against Western Conference clubs that are a combined 54-18 at home this season, a challenging stretch in which coach Mark Jackson’s squad can provide further proof of their emergence as a contender in the West. “This group has handled the challenges it has faced so far this season, and I fully expect our guys to perform and stick together through this trip,” Jackson said. “We have a very unselfish basketball team that play the right way, enjoy one another and never get upset with somebody else’s success.”
- The Warriors’ David Lee, who was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday, is the first NBA player to record at least 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in four straight outings since Kevin Garnett accomplished this feat for Minnesota in April 2003. Lee’s versatility and propensity for contributing in numerous ways is quite familiar to former Timberwolves general manger and Houston coach Kevin McHale. “I like [Lee] a lot. I think he knows how to play,” McHale said. “He makes shot, he’s active, runs, can pass the ball, been rebounding really well. … He’s got a nice niche and a nice fit in Golden State.”
- Rockets guard Jeremy Lin tweaked his left ankle during Monday’s practice, but the injury was not serious enough to prevent him from participating in this morning’s shootaround. He will start. Reserve wing Carlos Delfino, who strained his right elbow during Saturday’s victory over Charlotte, has loose cartilage in the elbow and will not play. “There’s no question [Delfino] has been a guy who has just solidified a lot of stuff for us,” McHale said. “With him, there’s always a calming effect for us.”
- A little defense can go a long way for Houston (26-23), which is 15-5 this season when allowing less than 100 points and 24-13 when its opponent makes less than half of its shot attempts. Reaching those benchmarks could be a daunting task against Golden State (30-17). The Warriors have averaged 108.8 points on 50.1 percent shooting during their four-game winning streak.
- Golden State, which has lost eight consecutive meetings with the Rockets in Houston, has not won at Toyota Center since Dec. 31, 2007.
– Matt Miller