OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—With his team playing a lackluster third quarter, Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy pulled his five starters.
The move worked as Houston overcame that sluggish quarter and beat Golden State 100-93 on Friday night.
“No message, it was pathetic effort by all five of them,” Van Gundy said. “We played three very good quarters. It was unfortunate that it was marred by an irresponsible third quarter.”
Yao Ming had 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who snapped a three-game road losing streak.
He has scored 60 points and grabbed 30 rebounds combined in his two appearances in the Bay Area.
“I didn’t do anything,” Yao said. “I just did what I’m supposed to do. In the third quarter our patience wasn’t good enough. If we don’t play with patience we’re not leaving here with a victory.”
Luther Head added 26 points, two off his career high, and eight rebounds for the Rockets. Even with the victory, the Rockets were still eliminated from playoff contention when the Sacramento Kings beat the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Rockets regained the lead for good when Alston hit a 3-pointer, sparking a 10-2 run over the final 2:30.
“We had a horrible third quarter but we got the opportunity in the fourth to get back into it,” Head said. “We played better defense and had a stronger final quarter.”
J.R. Richardson scored 29 points for the Warriors, who lost their seventh straight—their longest skid since a nine-game streak in January 2005. Troy Murphy had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Derek Fisher added 17 points.
“The whole season has been frustrating,” Richardson said. “We’re not supposed to be losing the way we’re losing.”
The Warriors have lost 18 of 25 since point guard Baron Davis has been out of the lineup with a right ankle sprain. They opened the second half with a 20-7 run, erasing a double-digit halftime deficit. Murphy hit a jumper with 6:21 left in the third quarter to give Golden State a 63-62 lead, its first since early in the first quarter.
The Warriors took a 76-73 lead into the final quarter, taking advantage of the Rockets poor shooting.
“We get back ahead get control of the game but we can’t sustain it,” Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. “Yao is a problem for us and no matter what we did we were in trouble.”
After Zarko Cabarkapa made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 34 with 5:41 remaining in the second quarter, the Rockets took the lead and eventually built a 55-45 halftime advantage.
The Rockets scored 11 of the final 13 points of the first half, seven by Yao, and shot 50 percent for the half
Head, Howard and Yao combined for all 25 points in the first quarter to give the Rockets a 25-19 lead.
Houston continued to enjoy success in Oakland, winning for the 23rd time in 27 games. The Rockets also won for just the seventh time in 43 games when they have trailed after three quarters.
Warriors C Andris Biedrins missed his third consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. … Rockets G Richie Frahm was on the inactive list for the second straight game with a left calf strain. … Foyle and Murphy each blocked a shot by Yao in the first quarter, and both times Yao came back to dunk on the Warriors. … The Warriors remain on pace to establish an attendance record for the fourth straight season. … Houston outrebounded the Warriors 61-32 the last time the teams met in Oakland on Dec. 14. … Yao has recorded 33 double-doubles in his 55 games, tying him with Murphy (70 games) for ninth best.