The first law of Warriors basketball in 2014: If Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson don't take the court, no matter the reason, it's reasonable to anticipate defeat.
That's why the Warriors and their fans should neither weep nor moan about their 90-83 loss to the Rockets on Sunday night in, of all places, Hidalgo, Texas.
This was another night in which rookie coach Steve Kerr explored his roster, as rookie point guard Aaron Craft played a team-high 25 minutes.
Curry and Thompson took the night off, partly to preserve their bodies and partly to allow Kerr to evaluate and decide who will be the team's fifth guard.
Curry and Thompson are safe, as is Shaun Livingston, who continues to heal from toe surgery and remains a week or so away from taking the court.
With veteran Leandro Barbosa – who also rested – clinging to the No. 4 spot, Nemanja Nedovic and Aaron Craft and Justin Holiday are competing for the final position.
Nedovic entered camp with the lead and he still has it – at least for now.
But Justin Holiday is gaining. He finished with a game-high 18 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, in 20 minutes, drilling 4-of-8 from deep.
[RELATED: Holiday faces uphill battle for roster spot]
"We’ve seen this in practice," Kerr said. "We saw it in Summer League. He just needed to relax. The last couple games, he had some open looks. But he's pressing. Tonight, he just relaxed and played.
He's really a good player and a great kid, belongs in the NBA 100 percent. He should be a pro in this league for a long time.
"Justin made a real strong case for himself tonight. But he's already made a good case for himself over the last few weeks."
At 6-foot-6, Holiday can play big guard or small forward. That puts him in the mix with Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Brandon Rush and Thompson.
But Holiday may be separating himself from roster hopeful Jason Kapono, another wing.
"You don't know what’s going to happen, so you can't really kill yourself right now about it," Holiday said. "All these guys have been playing well, and it can go either way. Whoever gets it, I'm happy for him. Hopefully, it's me."
THE GOOD: Nedovic had a solid offensive game, finishing with 16 points and five assists in 23 minutes.
Barnes totaled 13 points, on 5-of-7 shooting. He needed a solid night and got it.
THE BAD: Kapono missed all seven of his shots, six of which came from beyond the arc. He also committed three turnovers. It's safe to assume he's in jeopardy.
Draymond Green somehow committed five turnovers and three fouls in 20 minutes.
Rush was limited to 12 minutes, as the back spasms that afflicted him on Friday returned.
Marreese Speights, returning after a three-day absence attributed to his grandfather's death, was predictably ineffective: 4 points, 2-of-6 shooting, 13 minutes. He finished with a minus-14 points for the game.
THE TAKE: Holiday made perhaps his last and strongest bid to join the roster. Most spots are locked down, but Holiday is among those bidding to join in.
He's hardly secure, but he has shown as well as any of the five youngsters: forwards James Michael McAdoo and Mitchell Watt, and guard Craft. This was an audition, pure and simple, and Kerr liked what he saw.