Fans tend to blow the importance of some games way out of proportion, with bombastic proclamations of "must win" and "biggest game of the season". Y'know, fans get worked up about their teams.

Anyway, about tonight's game against the Houston Rockets?

BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON. ABSOLUTELY A MUST WIN!

Ok, this isn't actually a must-win. That term should be reserved for elimination games. But I'll stand by the claim that, to date, this is the Warriors' biggest, most important, impactful game. There's a lot at stake, and there's a lot to prove.
At stake

Our position in the standings, ahead of the Rockets. Our recent pair of slides has taken us out of contention for the 5th seed in the Western Conference, and plopped us right into a four-horse race for the final three slots. We are still the lead horse, but the comfort level that comes with being at the front of the pack is dangerous.

The Rockets have no such comfort: they're neck and neck with the Utah Jazz, and they've got the dastardly LA Lakers surging behind them, trying to get back into a playoff picture that many in October assumed they'd be at the top of. Every win or loss is crucial for Houston. And generally, I wish them luck - I'd love for them to hold down the 7th or 8th seed and force a great Southwest Division matchup in the first round. At the expense of the Lakers, which is very important.

Every game is nearly as critical for the Warriors. They are absolutely at risk of being overtaken by the three teams behind them, despite the comfortable schedule ahead. Gone is the confident, tough upstart who found ways to battle and get it done™, especially on the defensive end. What remains is a team whose defensive liabilities are no longer being masked by effort, and whose offense has evolved only insofar as Stephen Curry has in recent games taken his play to new heights. When Curry is shut down, as was somehow the case against the Kings on Wednesday, and even when he's got it going, the team has had trouble adapting to defenses that are no longer surprised.

And based on the last couple of games the Warriors played against the Rockets, adaptation will be key.