Warriors 106, Rockets 97

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 12, 2012
Monta Ellis had 33 points and seven assists, David Lee added 15 points and 13 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 106-97 on Sunday night for their second straight victory over a Western Conference playoff contender. Rookie reserve Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry had 14 points apiece and each made some big shots late to help the Warriors upset another top team. Golden State also won at Denver on Thursday night. Kevin Martin started to break out of a recent shooting slump with 28 points and Luis Scola had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Rockets, whose three-game winning streak ended. Houston is 3-2 on its current road stretch and has a chance to head home with a winning trip Tuesday at Memphis. The Warriors started to pull away in the fourth quarter with a mix of substitutes and starters. Ekpe Udoh came off the bench and finished with a strong layup at the rim, drawing a foul on Chase Budinger to convert a three-point play. Thompson followed with a 3-pointer on the next possession, Lee added a put-back dunk and a three-point play and Golden State opened up a 93-80 lead with 7:24 remaining. Too late and too much for Houston to comeback. The Rockets scored six straight capped by Patrick Patterson's tip to quickly close within seven and give Golden State a brief scare. With the game starting to slip back within reach, a familiar force for the Warriors made sure it didn't. Curry dribbled along the baseline and finished with an acrobatic, one-handed reverse layup underneath the rim despite getting sent tumbling to the hardwood by Scola. Curry made the free throw for the three-point play to put Golden State back in front by 10 and all but seal the victory. The two franchises suddenly tied together by a similar player move tried to make their own marks. New York sensation Jeremy Lin was waived by Golden State in December after splitting last season between the Warriors and the NBA Development League. Houston picked the point guard up for a couple of weeks before cutting him, and the Knicks decided to give him a look. All Lin has done since is help New York to five straight victories and engulfed the NBA in swift and stunning fashion. So much so that Rockets coach Kevin McHale acknowledged he went to a Bay Area sports bar Saturday night to watch Lin lead the Knicks past the Minnesota Timberwolves, where McHale had previously coached. Sunday's matchup had little of the same intrigue. After going scoreless for almost three minutes to start the game, the Rockets scored 13 straight - including the last six points by Scola - to take a 13-5 lead. Martin also made 3 of his first 4 from beyond the arc to put Houston ahead by nine points later in the first quarter. The Warriors whittled the deficit down in a hurry behind some strong 3-point shooting of their own. Golden State made eight of 13 from long range before the half, taking an eight-point lead during one stretch with Curry leading the sparkling shooting display. Both teams settled down and neither created much separation until Golden State pulled away in the fourth quarter. Notes: McHale (TNT) and Golden State's Mark Jackson (ABC/ESPN) both left the broadcast table for NBA head coaching jobs this season. Asked what enticed them to leave broadcasting, McHale said: ''I like the butterflies before the game. I like being in the fight. There's nothing like being in the scrap.''... Warriors F Dominic McGuire was inactive with left knee soreness.
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