No Easy Task

The Golden State Warriors have finally managed to reach the break-even mark after a dismal start to the season.

They'll try to move above .500 and extend their longest winning streak of the season Thursday when they host the surging Houston Rockets.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Houston -1 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 208 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Golden State +1 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Warriors (7-7) opened the season with six straight losses, a huge disappointment after reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1993-94 last season. However, they've bounced back with seven wins in eight games including victories in their last four.

Golden State will face a tough test Thursday, though, as it opposes a Houston team that has won three straight following a six-game losing streak. The Rockets (9-7) have won three in a row three times this season, but are still seeking their first four-game win streak.

The Warriors' resurgence has coincided with the return of Stephen Jackson, who missed the first seven games of the season while serving a league suspension. He has averaged 22 points in seven games since his return, and the Warriors are 6-1 with him on the court.

Jackson scored 21 points Wednesday, including two 3-pointers in a 20-second span late in the fourth quarter of a 103-96 victory at Sacramento. He was coming off a season-best 32-point performance in Monday's 129-114 win over Phoenix.

Wednesday marked Jackson's first game this season at home, where the Warriors improved to 2-4.

"We've come together, we've only had our whole team for two games," Jackson said. "The sky is the limit for what we can be."

Monta Ellis added 22 points after scoring a season-high 31 in each of his previous two games. Baron Davis chipped in 19 points and six assists.

Meanwhile, Houston won 100-94 at Phoenix on Wednesday behind 31 points and 13 rebounds from Yao Ming, who has nine double-doubles this season.

"He was aggressive," Tracy McGrady, who added 18 points, said of Yao. "If he plays like that every night, we'll be a helluva team.

Seldom-used guard Steve Francis received a season-high 27 minutes of playing time in his fourth game this season and responded with nine points, seven assists and a block of Amare Stoudemire with 16.9 seconds remaining.

"I try to get myself ready when I'm called upon," Francis said. "I still have a long way to go; I still don't have my rhythm and timing. Me and the coach (Rick Adelman) have been having conversations about me coming in and giving the team a spark."

Francis returned to Houston, where he played his first five seasons and was named an All-Star three times, in the offseason as a free agent but did not play in the first 10 games. However, he has seen action in each of the last three, as Houston's losing streak prompted Adelman to shuffle his rotation.

"I made the decision to try other people, other combinations to see if that would work," Adelman told the Rockets' official team Web site.

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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