Rockets, Warriors aim for 3-point mark

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Get out your erasers, NBA historians. The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors could be shooting for a record when they meet for the first time this season Thursday night.

The Rockets will put their streak of having made at least 10 3-pointers in 17 straight games on the line against a team that owned the NBA perimeter last year.

Houston's James Harden (55), Eric Gordon (55) and Trevor Ariza (52) all rank among the Top 10 this season in 3-pointers made, and Ryan Anderson (45) isn't far outside the group, lifting the Rockets (13.8 per game) into a tie with Cleveland for the team lead.

Both are attempting to unseat the Warriors as the reigning 3-point kings. Golden State (13.1) easily outdistanced the field in 3-point success last year.

Along the way, the Warriors (21) combined with the Dallas Mavericks (18) to set an NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a game (39) on March 25, 2016.

The Warriors and Rockets get their first crack at bettering that mark this season on Thursday night.

Houston has moved ahead of Golden State in the category this season by shooting more often from 3-point distance and doing it with greater accuracy.

In their first season under coach Mike D'Antoni, the Rockets have increased their 3-point attempts from 30.9 per game to 36.6, and their percentage of success from 34.7 to 37.8.

Other than embracing the up-tempo style of D'Antoni, three big reasons for the Rockets' uptick in 3's are Gordon, who is shooting more often from downtown (7.9 attempts per game, up from 6.5), Ariza, who has connected on a career-best 39.7 percent so far this season, and Anderson, a 42.2 percent career 3-point shooter who was signed to a four-year, $80 million deal in July.

"Obviously, we built this team to put shooters around James," Anderson said recently of Harden, who leads the NBA with 11.9 assists per game. "They're all good shots."

Alas, while the Rockets have scored big from beyond the arc this season, they've also given up 3's in bundles. Opponents are averaging 9.9 made 3's on 38.2-percent accuracy, figures that are seventh- and second-highest in the league.

The Warriors, by their own high standards, have opened the season a bit cold from beyond the arc. They have attempted the same number as last season (31.6 per game), but their percentage of success has fallen from a league-best 41.6 to 38.4.

Guard Klay Thompson is the biggest reason for the decline, and at same time, a big reason to believe Golden State can once again overtake the Rockets (and Cavaliers) in the category.

A career 41.7-percent shooter on 3's, Thompson has made only 36.5 percent this season.

That number is a bit misleading, however. He began the season 11-for-53 (20.8 percent) through seven games, but has since made 39 of 84 (46.4 percent) in his last 11 outings.

The Warriors (16-2) have won each of those last 11 games, and will take a 12-game winning streak, third longest in franchise history, into Thursday's game.

One key for the Warriors: They lead the league in overall shooting percentage (50.2) while keeping up the third-fastest pace of play (100.5 possessions per 48 minutes).

"We want to play fast. We want as many possessions as possible," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters earlier this week. "If we can play a high-possession game, play with pace and be at 2/1 (assists/turnovers ratio), I'm really comfortable with that."

The Rockets (11-7) are coming off a 120-101 loss at Utah on Tuesday night, their third stop on a five-game trip.
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