HOUSTON -- With the partisan Toyota Center crowd lusting for an NBA record, it was only a matter of time before things turned testy between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.
The Rockets tied a league mark with 23 3-pointers en route to a 140-109 victory, but the final moments of their triumph were marred when the besieged Warriors suddenly decided to defend the arc with vigor.
Warriors forward Draymond Green and Rockets forward Marcus Morris were ejected with 34.1 seconds left after Green was whistled for a flagrant-2 foul on Rockets guard Patrick Beverley. When Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas matched the NBA record with a 3 with 3:41 left, the Warriors opted for extreme measures to prevent Houston from draining its 24th, to the chagrin of a throng chanting, "One more three!"
"Some nights it's not your night, and it wasn't ours. We didn't play particularly well," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "But that doesn't mean lay down and surrender. That's not in our DNA."
The Rockets (27-23) shot 23 for 40 from behind the arc, including a remarkable 14 for 18 in the first half during their blitz of the Warriors (30-18), whose four-game winning streak came to a decisive halt. Golden State, renowned for the perimeter marksmanship of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, finished a miserable 3 for 15 on 3-pointers.
For the third time this season the Rockets featured three players with at least seven assists as Jeremy Lin (28 points, nine assists), Chandler Parsons (16 points, eight assists) and James Harden (18 points, seven assists) set the tone for their red-hot offense. Each hit at least four 3-pointers, with Lin pacing the Rockets by shooting 5 for 8 from deep.
Houston drilled 7 of 10 from the arc in the first quarter yet the Warriors kept pace by shooting 58.3 percent while converting 7 of 8 from the free-throw line and trailed 38-37 heading into the second. But the Rockets' surge continued unabated, with four successive treys from Toney Douglas, Harden, Patrick Patterson and Lin extending the lead to 64-53 with 4:24 remaining in the first half. Curry sank a buzzer-beating 3 from just inside half court to cut the deficit to 77-62 at intermission, but the Rockets assisted on an astounding 22 of 26 first-half baskets.
"The amount of 3s we hit was pretty ridiculous, but guys stepped up and we were open," Parsons said. "No one is going to turn down open shots. We did a great job of moving the ball, and I think (the 3-pointers) were a product of how unselfish we played all night long."
Jarrett Jack paced the Warriors with 20 points while David Lee added 18 to go along with seven rebounds. The Orlando Magic set the mark for 3s against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 13, 2009. Through intentional fouls and aggressive perimeter defense, the Warriors defended their honor.
"The crowd was into it and nobody likes to get embarrassed and give up NBA records," Curry said. "We tried to do what we could to not let that happen."
Said Rockets coach Kevin McHale: "Mark didn't want it to happen and fouled and I didn't have no problem with how they played. Mark's got to coach his team. I have no problem with that."
NOTES: Rockets reserve swingman Carlos Delfino suffered through right elbow pain for weeks before finally succumbing and playing just seven minutes Saturday night against the Bobcats. With an MRI revealing loose cartilage in the joint, the Rockets are unsure when Delfino will return. "He's been a guy that solidifies a lot of stuff for us," McHale said. "He did a lot of good stuff for us. He was always a calming effect for us, and we'll miss him a lot." ... One knee-jerk response to the return of Warriors center Andrew Bogut from ankle surgery was a presumed lightened load on power forward David Lee. While the sample size is small -- Bogut has played just four games since Jan. 28 -- winds of change are blowing. "It's going to make life easier for David," Jackson said. "A lot of teams put their banging big man on David. With Bogut in the lineup, you can't do that. If you chose to do that, there's a price to pay on the other side."