HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets blitzed the Golden State Warriors early and negated any threat of another unlikely comeback, snapping a two-game skid with a 105-83 victory on Friday night at Toyota Center.
The Rockets (14-7) led by as many as 28 points in reversing their mini-slump, parlaying dominating efforts from guard James Harden (34 points, seven rebounds, four assists), forward Terrence Jones (16 points, 10 rebounds) and center Dwight Howard (22 points, 18 boards).
Golden State (11-9) could not shoot its way past the Rockets' stifling defense, converting a woeful 2-for-16 3-pointers. The Warriors, who have dropped 18 of 21 games in their series with the Rockets, entered play leading the league in 3-point shooting at 43.7 percent.
Guard Stephen Curry paced the Warriors with 22 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Golden State rallied from a 27-point, third-quarter deficit to defeat the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
All that ailed the Rockets offensively vanished with forward Chandler Parsons back in the fold. Parsons, who missed losses to the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns with back spasms, spearheaded an aggressive attack in his return, hitting an early 3 while adding three first-quarter assists.
Parsons was central to the initial surge, with the Rockets racing to a 19-point first-quarter lead by scoring 16 points in the paint and eight in transition. Jones had 11 points in the period, mostly via penetration, while Howard added nine points and nine boards in just 11 minutes.
The Warriors shot poorly throughout the first half, and if Curry didn't warm up just prior to the intermission, their 24-point deficit likely would have been greater. Curry scored the Warriors' final seven points of the period, including a pair of late jumpers that represented a third of the team's baskets in the second quarter.
Curry tallied 16 points by the break, carrying the load while guard Klay Thompson and forward Harrison Barnes scored six on a combined 1-for-13 shooting. Conversely, Harden, Jones and Howard had 43 by halftime.
NOTES: Golden State has trusted the individual defensive ability of its centers against the best bigs in the league -- a philosophy that has been reinforced with C Andrew Bogut having returned to optimal health. "With (Bogut) and our big guys, we pretty much like to play one-on-one, and if necessary we'll send help," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "But overall we're going to live with an elite defender getting the job done." ... Warriors G Toney Douglas is nearing a return from a stress reaction in his left tibia and has been lobbying for playing time. "We want to stay true to the process and make sure he's healthy and whole," Jackson said. ... Houston has struggled with being short-handed, something that has Rockets coach Kevin McHale miffed. "I told them there's no one to substitute for you," McHale said of his rotation members. "You should feel relaxed in playing."