Rockets hand Warriors their fifth consecutive lossBy Dave Del Grande, Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Feb 13, 2013 2:40 AM EST
OAKLAND, Calif. -- If not for the Houston Rockets, the perennially lottery-bound Golden State Warriors probably would be considered the surprise team of the NBA's first half. Instead, the Rockets just might have wrestled away that distinction. Two wins over Golden State in eight days have allowed Houston to creep within two games of the fast-starting Warriors in the Western Conference playoff race. Getting production from James Harden and Jeremy Lin on poor shooting nights and double-figure scoring from four others who rarely missed, the Rockets again beat one of their chief rivals in the playoff chase, winning Tuesday on the Warriors' home floor, 116-107. "It's huge for us," said Rockets point guard Lin, whose team was coming off a disappointing 117-111 loss at Sacramento on Sunday. "We've seen what can happen when we lose a game and then that turns into two, three, four and so on. "For us to snap that right now is good, and to beat a great team who plays really well at home, we're thankful for that." Tuesday's game was a rematch of the Rockets' 140-109 win in Houston on Feb. 5, when the Rockets matched an NBA record by making 23 3-pointers. The rout sent the Warriors (30-22) spiraling into an 0-4 road trip. Golden State's losing streak reached five with the latest loss to Houston. This time, it was the Warriors' inability to hit 3-pointers that proved decisive. Golden State missed six in a row from long range in a futile catch-up attempt late in the game, eventually succumbing to the Rockets' superior depth. "Our defense clamped down a little bit," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale, whose team held the Warriors without a field goal from the 4:59 mark of the fourth period until Jarrett Jack hit a meaningless 3-pointer with 14 seconds left. "Early in the game, we did not follow our defensive assignments at all." On a night when he saw his three-game streak of 30-plus scoring nights stopped, James Harden paced the Rockets (29-25) with 27 points. He was able to overcome 7-for-22 shooting -- and a scary fall in the third quarter -- by making all 11 of his free throws. NBA Most Improved Player candidate Chandler Parsons backed Harden with 21 points to go with nine assists and eight rebounds. San Francisco Bay Area native Lin, in his first Oakland appearance in more than year, struggled through 3-for-11 shooting to record a 14-point, 10-assist double-double. "It's awesome being able to come home and see everybody," said Lin, a former Warrior who made his New York Knicks debut (90 seconds, no points) in Oakland on Dec. 28, 2011, but hadn't been in Oracle Arena since. "I had a lot of friends and family out there tonight, and this is my first time back when I'm not just playing garbage time. It was fun tonight." Stephen Curry paced the Warriors with 27 points. Jack, returning from a three-game absence caused by a shoulder injury, and Klay Thompson added 22 apiece. However, the Warriors got a combined 4-for-16 shooting effort from their usually potent power forward tandem of All-Star David Lee and Carl Landry, and now they head into a weeklong break engulfed in a season-worst skid. "Every team goes through tough stretches, and ours is one that is new to this basketball team," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "We will respond. "You give up 116 points, that's not who we are. We have to find a way to put together 48 minutes of basketball and get out of this." Three hoops by Patrick Patterson in a 13-5 burst allowed the Rockets to open the night's first double-digit margin, 88-77, late in the third period. A 3-pointer by Jack got the Warriors within 95-89 in the third minute of the fourth period. However, Marcus Morris had two dunks and a 3-pointer during a five-possession run in which the Rockets added 12 points to their total, pulling into a 107-95 lead that was not seriously challenged the rest of the way. Patterson and Morris finished with 12 points apiece. Carlos Delfino, who also had a 3-pointer in the game-clinching burst, finished with 10. Omer Asik added 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Coincidentally, the Rockets' run occurred not long after a potentially disastrous moment, when Harden turned his ankle on Lee's foot and had to be escorted to the locker room. The incident occurred on a fast break, with Harden racing one-on-one toward a backpedaling Lee. As the Rockets star lunged forward in order to get a shot over the taller defender, Harden stepped on Lee's foot and fell in a heap. The left-hander was able to stay in the game to shoot two free throws, which he made, but then immediately was taken behind the scenes for an examination. He was able to return a little less than two minutes later, and the Rockets' pullaway began shortly thereafter. "It was very tough. I could barely walk. I'm still limping," said Harden, who hopes to be able to play Wednesday when the Rockets visit Los Angeles to take on the Clippers. "I didn't want to shut it down. I came back out there, and even though I didn't score the ball, I just tried to make the right plays and do whatever it takes to win." The Warriors' Jackson told his team afterward to focus on the 30 wins at the break, not the five recent losses. "He put it in perspective," Lee said. "We need to acknowledge that change needs to happen. We have to get better at the two things that have helped us this season, and that's defense and rebounding." NOTES: Houston outrebounded Golden State 48-46. ... The Rockets recorded 32 assists in the game, giving them 67 in their two matchups with the Warriors. ... Despite a 3-for-10 shooting effort and foul trouble, Lee recorded his league-leading 33rd double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. ... Lin, who attended high school across the San Francisco Bay from Oakland in Palo Alto, played a total of 284 minutes as a full-season member of the Warriors in 2010-11, seeing action in only 29 of the team's 82 games. He was waived shortly after the lockout ended in December 2011 as the Warriors cleared salary-cap space in order to sign DeAndre Jordan to an offer sheet, one that was eventually matched by the Clippers. ... The Warriors teamed with adidas on Monday to show off a new sleeved uniform that the club will debut Feb. 22 in a nationally televised game against the Spurs. The Warriors will wear the lightweight, yellow jersey three times this season. ... Asked his thoughts on the new look, the Rockets' McHale shook his head in disbelief and muttered, "A sleeved jersey ..."
1 - 4 of 20
Yahoo! Sports slideshows
1 - 4 of 25