Rockets 116, Warriors 107

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Houston Rockets gained ground on Golden State in the Western Conference playoff race and sent the Warriors into the All-Star break on a five-game losing streak, using a strong final 17 minutes to produce a 116-107 victory at Oracle Arena.
James Harden scored 27 points and six teammates joined him in double figures as the Rockets (29-25) moved to within two games of the Warriors (30-22) in the early stages of the race to be No. 6 in the West.
The game was a rematch of a week earlier, when the Rockets matched an NBA record by making 23 3-pointers in a 140-109 scorching that sent the Warriors spiraling into an 0-4 road trip.
This time, it was the Warriors' inability to hit 3s that proved decisive. They 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.
Chandler Parsons backed Harden with 21 points to go with nine assists and eight rebounds, and San Francisco Bay Area native Jeremy Lin, in his first Oakland appearance in more than year, overcame 3-for-11 shooting to record a 14-point, 10-assist double-double.
Despite making all 11 of his free throws, Harden saw hit string of three consecutive 30-point efforts come to an end. The culprit: 7-for-22 shooting.
Stephen Curry paced the Warriors with 27 points. Jarrett Jack, returning from a three-game absence, and Klay Thompson added 22 apiece.
A 3-pointer by Jack got the Warriors within 95-89 in the third minute of the fourth quarter. But Marcus Morris had two dunks and a 3 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.
Morris finished with 12 points off the bench. Fellow reserve Carlos Delfino, who also had a 3 in the game-clinching burst, finished with 10.
The Rockets were the first team to get real separation in the game, using a 13-5 spurt late in the third quarter to build the night's first double-digit advantage, 88-77. Patrick Patterson had three of Houston's six hoops in the flurry, including a dunk that prompted a Golden State timeout at 88-77 with 1:12 remaining in the period.
Coincidentally, the run occurred not long after a potentially disastrous moment for the Rockets, when Harden turned his ankle on David 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 with Lee. As he 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.
Fouls and foul shots dominated the first half, with the referees blowing their whistles at a foul-a-minute pace, resulting in 32 free throws and four Warriors starters with three fouls.
The Rockets' 57-56 advantage was a direct result of superior foul shooting. With Jeremy Lin (8-for-8) and Harden (7-for-7) making 15 in a row, Houston hit 16 of 17 in the half, which was only slightly better than Golden State's 11-for-15.
The relatively high-scoring half occurred despite poor shooting from the field from three of the game's marquee players -- Harden, Lin and the Warriors' Lee.
The Rockets duo was nearly as poor from the floor (5-for-19) as it was great from the line. But even Harden's 4-for-15 and Lin's 1-for-4 was better than Lee's 1-for-7.
Harden's 16 points led all scorers in the half, one in which there were 10 ties and 10 lead changes.
NOTES: 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 of 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 twice this season. ... Asked his thoughts on the new look, Rockets coach Kevin McHale shook his head in disbelief and muttered, "A sleeved jersey ..." ... Admitting his team was "a step slow" during its winless, four-game road trip last week, Warriors coach Mark Jackson announced he's giving his guys five days off before practicing next Monday night in Salt Lake City. The Warriors return from the All-Star break Tuesday at Utah. ... The Warriors entered Tuesday having won nine years in a row in the game leading into their midseason break. ... Before the game, Jackson acknowledged he received an e-mail on the road last week with an attached photo taken by a home-team fan whose view of the game was blocked by Warriors reserves standing during the action. Jackson and the ticket-buyer obviously viewed the photo differently. "I got guys who really care," the coach said. "That should be applauded."