Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Harden helps Houston hold off Warriors, 116-112

Klay Thompson, Jeremy Lin, Stephen Curry

Houston Rockets' Jeremy Lin (7) shoots between Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson, left, and Stephen Curry during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND — James Harden had 26 points and nine assists, Chandler Parsons scored 23 points and the Houston Rockets held off the Golden State Warriors 116-112 on Friday night.

Dwight Howard finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds while spending most of the night in foul trouble for the Rockets, who led by 13 points late in the third quarter before the Warriors briefly rallied ahead in the fourth. Patrick Beverley scored nine of his 16 points in the final period to help Houston hand Golden State its second loss in a week.

David Lee had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Stephen Curry collected 20 points and nine assists for the Warriors, who outrebounded the Rockets 56-32. But Houston outshot Golden State 49.4 to 47.8 percent and made more big plays late.

The Warriors fell behind early again in what has become a troubling trend at home. Golden State came back from deficits of 27 and 18 points to win its previous two games at Oracle Arena over Toronto and Dallas, respectively.

This time, Houston had too much for the Warriors to overcome.

Golden State used a 14-2 spurt at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters, taking an 85-84 lead on Marreese Speights’ layup with 8:09 remaining. The teams traded baskets in a back-and-fourth finish until the Rockets regrouped to pull away.

Parsons made a reverse layup before Howard converted a three-point play after getting fouled by Lee, giving Houston a 103-98 lead with 2:15 left. Howard made all seven of his free throws.

Curry came back with a layup, then Beverley answered with a step-back shot from 21 feet to silence the crowd. Curry missed a contested 3-pointer, and Beverley made a running shot to put the game out of reach.

Harrison Barnes added 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who committed 18 turnovers. The Rockets had 15 turnovers.

Houston had handed Golden State its most lopsided loss of the season last week, a 105-83 rout in Texas. The rematch out west turned out to be much closer — and far more physical.

The Warriors wanted a goaltending call on Howard when he reached up and blocked Draymond Green’s layup in the second quarter. As Harden dribbled down court, Green hit him in the neck with his right hand. Harden tumbled to the floor, and Green drew a flagrant foul.

The sequence seemed to awaken the announced sellout crowd of 19,596, which had been booing Howard every time he touched the ball anyway. The Rockets remained in control, though, going ahead 57-44.

Howard, Curry and Thompson all picked up their fourth fouls midway through a tightly called third quarter. With Howard on the bench, Houston built an 82-73 lead heading to the fourth.

But they could only sustain the momentum without Howard for so long. He was whistled for his fifth foul with 9:55 to play, helping the Warriors take the lead briefly.

Both teams played short-handed.

The Warriors were without backup centers Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist), Festus Ezeli (right knee) and Ognjen Kuzmic (right hand), who are all recovering from surgeries. Andre Iguodala also sat out his 11th straight game with a right hamstring injury.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale missed his second game in a row following the death of his mother. Assistant Kelvin Sampson served as the interim coach again. And Omer Asik sat out his fifth consecutive game with a bruised right thigh.

NOTES: Houston has won 18 of the past 22 against Golden State. … Bernard King, who spent two seasons with the Warriors, was honored during a ceremony on the court between the first and second quarters for his recent induction in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. … Howard’s 3-pointer in the second quarter was only the third of his career. He’s now 3 for 42 from long range.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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