Programming note: Rockets-Warriors coverage starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and streaming live right here.
OAKLAND – Every time the Warriors step onto the court lately, they're rewriting a page in the franchise record book. When they face the Rockets on Wednesday at Oracle Arena, coach Steve Kerr gets his chance to make NBA history.
Kerr will try to become the first coach in NBA history to begin his career with a 19-2 record after 21 games.
The Warriors, who have built most of their 18-2 record against inferior competition, will confront the Rockets (16-4), who have proved formidable even though center Dwight Howard has missed 10 games with a strained knee.
Warriors by 11
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Klay Thompson vs. James Harden -- Widely considered the top two off guards in the league, it's always a treat to watch Thompson try to contain the irrepressible Harden. The duel should improve now that Harden is making legitimate attempts to defend.
Stephen Curry vs. Patrick Beverley -- Curry is an exceedingly difficult one-on-one cover. Beverley is a terrific defender who delights in being a pest, and he can be provocative. If Beverley can keep Curry in check, the Rockets win the battle.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Attack the rim -- The Warriors would be smart to drive often against the Rockets, particularly if Howard is out. Houston leads the league in 3-point defense.
2) Crank up the D -- The Rockets don't shoot particularly well; they rank 26th in overall field-goal percentage. Keep them uncomfortable and cold.
3) Watch the lanes -- The Rockets can get sloppy; they have worst assists-to-turnover ratio in the NBA. They don't often pass, and steals tend to be available when they do.
Warriors -- C Andrew Bogut (right knee tendinitis) is listed as questionable. His status will be updated shortly before tipoff. F David Lee (strained left hamstring) is listed as out and is scheduled to undergo reevaluation this week.
[RELATED: Bogut on knee injury: 'Nothing too serious']
Rockets -- G James Harden (back spasms) and F Francisco Garcia (right calf strain) are listed as questionable, but Harden practiced Wednesday and is expected to play. C Dwight Howard (right knee strain) is listed as doubtful. G Isaiah Canaan (left ankle sprain), F Terrence Jones (left leg nerve irritation) and F Kostas Papanikolaou (right knee strain) are listed as out.
The Warriors, who won the first meeting on Nov. 8 in Houston, have lost the annual series for six consecutive seasons and have nine of the last 12 meetings in Oakland.