Portland (KRON) - The Golden State Warriors have fallen to second place in the Western Conference. With a loss to the Trail Blazers in Portland, and the Houston Rockets beating the Sacramento Kings, the James Harden led squad is now number one.
To make matters more difficult, Houston holds the tie-breaker over Golden State after winning two out of their three match-ups this season.
The Warriors have struggled as of late, especially to start games. They've given up big first quarters to their opponents and have often found themselves playing from behind. They nearly pulled off the win against the Blazers behind Kevin Durant's season high 50 points. But Damian Lillard had different plans.
The Rockets have won 10 straight games and have just lost once this season when Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela all play. Houston is beating teams by a point differential of 8.7, which leads the league. They've also gone 23 and 6 at at home and are the only team in the West with single digit losses within the conference.
Paul and Harden have both lost their fair share of games against the Warriors the past few years. Teaming up has made each of them better and Harden the prime candidate to win MVP.
Steve Kerr had the Warriors call plays for themselves during a game against the Phoenix Suns earlier this week to try and get the team more engaged. That ended up leading to a 46 point win.
Despite outscoring the Blazers by six in the second half, Golden State just didn't have enough gas left in the fourth quarter to pull off the road victory. Stephen Curry shot 6 for 17 from the field and had a team-high 7 turnovers.
Curry, Durant, Green and Thompson will represent the Dubs this All-Star Weekend, which can be the perfect escape from the serious games. This team has played in June for three straight years. The break comes at the right time, because once February 22nd hits, it's go-time for Golden State until likely mid-June.
Until then, they have to play from behind in the standings for the first time in a while.Make sure you tune into KRON4 Hoop Session for all of your local Bay Area basketball coverage, featuring the Warriors and more. The show airs on February 17 at 11 p.m. on KRON 4.