HOUSTON (CBS SF) – When talk turned from whether or not Warriors star Steph Curry would play Thursday night, the tone of the conversation prior to the Houston-Golden State Game 3 showdown evolved into rhetoric most often associated with a heavyweight fight in Las Vegas.

Rockets coach JB Bickerstaff didn’t mince words when asked what his team need to do to win and draw to within 2-1 in the best of seven series.

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The Rockets have to get nastier if they want to match the Warriors physical play, particularly on the part of power forward Draymond Green.

“This isn’t Tuesday night in February in Milwaukee,” he said.

Center Dwight Howard seemed to be in agreement.

“It’s just like a boxing match,” he said. “If you want to beat the champ you’ve got to knock them out. If you expect to win a decision it’s going to be hard. So you’ve got to go knock them out.”

Among the complaints the Rockets have had against the physical play of the Warriors has been the screening – or illegal moving screening if you are to believe the Rockets – set by Green.

But the talented forward has defended his play.

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“I don’t think I set illegal screens,” Green told the Bay Area News Group. “We set screens just like anybody else. My guys get open shots because they got two of the quickest releases in the NBA. Everybody else in the NBA sets the same screens we set. They just don’t got the shooters we got.”

As for whether or not Curry will be in the line, at best that will be a game time decision. If the game had been Wednesday, the reigning NBA MVP likely would not have played.

After practicing at full speed, Curry said his ankle still wasn’t right.

“It’s different in the training room walking around versus on the court doing actual basketball moves. But it is getting better,” Curry said.

On his ESPN blog, Green said there was no rush to get Curry back if he still was having doubt about his movement.

“As far as Steph being in the next game, I know he doesn’t want to miss two games,” Green wrote. “But at the end of the day, there is no reason for him to be out there…I think he will be out there, from my conversations with him. But we just got to play it by ear and continue to see his progress over the next couple of days.”

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