Warriors rally past Rockets
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors held the Houston Rockets scoreless for almost seven minutes of the fourth quarter Friday night, enabling the two-time defending Western Conference champions to overcome a four-point deficit en route to a 107-98 victory.
In a battle of clubs that already have clinched playoff spots, the Warriors posted a 10th straight win thanks to a 12-0 fourth-quarter run that featured 10 points from their reserves.
The win allowed Golden State (62-14) to remain 3 1/2 games up on the San Antonio Spurs (58-17) in the race for top seed in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs.
The Rockets (51-25), meanwhile, dropped a half-game closer to Utah (46-29) in their duel for the No. 3 seed in the West.
After four consecutive points by Lou Williams and a 3-pointer from Sam Dekker, the Rockets led 92-88 with 9:40 to go.
But Houston didn't score again until James Harden buried a 3-pointer with 2:41 left, by which point Golden State had erased the deficit and built a 100-92 lead.
Shaun Livingston had five points, fellow reserve Ian Clark a 3-pointer and supersub Andre Iguodala a layup during the critical run, which helped the Warriors claim the season series 3-1 from the Rockets.
Houston missed nine straight shots, including five 3-point attempts, and mixed in three turnovers during their drought.
Stephen Curry had a game-high 24 points to lead the Warriors, whose had beaten the Rockets 113-106 in Houston on Tuesday night.
Klay Thompson had 20 points and a team-high eight rebounds for Golden State, which got 49 points from its bench, led by Iguodala with 14 and JaVale McGee with 13.
Harden, despite missing 14 of his 18 shots, led Houston with 17 points. He also recorded a game-high 12 rebounds and team-high eight assists.
Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza added 15 points apiece for the Rockets, who were playing the second half of a back-to-back. They lost their third straight.
Despite falling behind 10-2 in the first 1:44 of the game, the Rockets led for a majority of the first three quarters, including by as many as 13 at 59-46 late in the second quarter.
Houston retained a 61-56 lead at halftime despite Harden having missed seven of his eight shots, including all five of his 3-pointers, in the first 24 minutes.
The Rockets took an 85-83 lead into the fourth quarter after, during the break after the end of the third quarter, the referees reviewed a basket by Dekker that had initially been ruled to have come after the 24-second clock had expired. That decision was overturned, breaking what appeared to have been an 83-all tie.
NOTES: The Warriors improved to 12-5 with SF Kevin Durant out of the lineup, nursing a sprained knee. ... Houston played a fourth consecutive game without PF Ryan Anderson (sprained right ankle). ... The Rockets welcomed back reserve big man Montrezl Harrell, who had missed the previous two games while attending the birth of his child. He had 11 points in 22 minutes ... On a night when the teams celebrated Women's History Month, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked which woman (outside of his family) inspired him the most. His response: Ann Meyers Drysdale. "Just a wonderful human being," Kerr said. "Helped advance women's basketball, but just a really great person."